Folic Acid Cuts Colon Cancer Risk

Long-term use of a multivitamin containing folic acid, a B complex vitamin found mostly in leafy green vegetables, beans and nuts, may reduce the risk of colon cancer in women by as much as 75%. Research has already demonstrated that folic acid helps prevent against neural tube defects (spina bifida) in newborns, and perhaps heart disease and cardiovascular disease. Women whose folic acid intakes exceeded 400 micrograms (mcg) per day (the current recommended daily intake) in 1980 were 31% less likely to develop colon cancer than those who consumed only 200 mcg per day or less of the vitamin. The investigators found that folic acid obtained from dietary supplements had a stronger protective effect against colon cancer than folic acid consumed in the diet. In other words, although foods naturally high in folate may provide other beneficial micronutrients, consumption of these foods is probably less effective than use of supplements and fortified foods in enhancing folate status.

Annals of Internal Medicine October 1, 1998;129:517-524.

COMMENT: It appears that folic acid supplementation would be wise to consider for a number of reasons. This is the first report that I am aware of that it will actually decrease one’s risk of colon cancer. It is well documented to decrease homocysteine which is felt to be a risk factor of many for heart disease. It is also necessary in metabolizing tryptophan into serotonin and in preventing depression. I have taken at least 2 mg (2000 mcg) for the last several years.

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