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Folic Acid - Latest Studies Show Megadosing May Be a Cancer Hazard

Saturday, December 04, 2010
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Folic Acid is one of the most important B complex vitamins . Folic Acid fortification of grains and cereals has been practiced in the United States since 1998, as part of an effort to decrease the incidence of neural tube birth defects in babies.

A recent study conducted in Norway has raised concerns regarding the safety of taking mega doses of the vitamin.  The study has shown a probable link between high folic acid intakes to increased cancer rates, particularly lung cancer.

The study was conducted in Norway, a country where foods are not fortified with folic acid.  Two groups of patients were compared, one receiving folic acid supplements and the other one, placebos.

6,261 patients with ischemic heart disease who had earlier participated in two randomized clinical trials (from 1998 to 2004-2005) were given homocysteine lowering treatment with folic acid and vitamin B12 and were studied for decrease in heart disease.

The same patients were monitored in 2007. The findings of the study were published in the Nov. 18 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.  It was observed that 10 percent of patients who had been treated with folic acid and vitamin B 12 had developed cancer. On the other hand, 8.4 percent of those who had not received the treatment developed cancer. Thus the difference was 21 percent. The higher risk seemed to be associated with high blood levels of folate, rather than vitamin B12.

Past experimental evidence has linked folate deficiency to cancer growth. The present study has demonstrated a possible link between excess folic acid and tumor growth.

By Poonam Vaswani,                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Dietitian,

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User Comments

17 July, 2010 | sandy | Reply

sandy I've Factor V Leiden/MTHFR & have been mega-dosing with 4MG of folic acid (& B12)for 10 years. I've just been found to have a rear vagal paraganglioma as well as a neuroendocrine tumor in my pancreas. Is this amt of folic acid exacerbating the growth of tumors and aiding in unhealthy cells and even increased vascularity (i.e. the 6.5 neck tumor)? Who should I consult with to have a broader analysis rather than the distinct specialists who cannot seem to integrate these issues?
Many thanks!

17 July, 2010 | Support | Reply

Support Dear Sandy,
We am sorry to hear about your condition.
Our best advise to you is to contact your oncologist and primary physicians, ask them these questions and follow their recommendations.
We are sorry, we cannot assist you as it would be innapropriate for us to comment on conditions that are out of our realm of expertise.
Good luck.
The NV Dietetic Team

16 June, 2010 | Poonam Vaswani | Reply

Poonam Vaswani While consuming adequate amounts of all vitamins and minerals is necessary, one has to be careful to ensure that no supplement is consumed in excess. It's a good idea to check the dosage with your physician before starting on any supplements. Studies have shown that megadosing can lead to conditions like, liver toxicity, birth dafects, kidney stones, gastrointestinal defects etc.
Eating a well balanced diet goes a long way in ensuring that all nutrient requirements are met.

11 June, 2010 | Geetanjali | Reply

Geetanjali The normal requirement of folic acid is 100mcg and in pregnancy it is increased to 400mcg. Vegetarian sources of folic acid are dark green leafy vegetables, pulses and legumes, beans, sesame seeds. Regular intake of these can readily meet the recommended needs. It is only during pre-conception and pregnancy a supplement is required to meet the increased needs.

Geetanjali Kelkar
Nutrition Vista

01 June, 2010 | Rohit | Reply

Rohit Hi,
I would like to know how much folic acid consumption can be considered as excess for a normal healthy adult male? Does normal Indian vegetarian diet provide us with that much of folic acid?

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Tags: Anemia, Cancer, Cancer Diet & Nutrition, Cancer Prevention, Lung Cancer, Vitamins & Supplements


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