Too much folic acid could up cancer risk

July 18, 2007 in Cancer Prevention, Nutrition Topics in the News, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

Too much folic acid could up cancer risk

Latest study findings from researchers at Tufts University have added to the controversy about folic acid fortification of cereals and grains.

Since Canada and the US started enriching grains with folic acid in the mid 1990s, we've seen a 20 to50 percent decline in neural tube defects, a birth defect characterized by an opening in the brain, skull or spinal cord, also known as spina bifida.

However, researchers at Tufts University are now reporting that the incidence of colorectal cancer has also increased during the same time period.

According to Professor Joel Mason and his colleagues, since our food supply started being fortified with folic acid, there have been four to six additional cases of colorectal cancer for every 100,000 individuals each year.

Since these findings are preliminary, the Tufts researchers are encouraging further investigation into the link between folic acid and cancer.  

Folic acid is essential for cell growth and DNA synthesis, thus making it beneficial for unborn children and women of child-bearing age. It is found in leafy green vegetables, legumes and citrus fruits.

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