New research shows folic acid supplements may be helpful for people who consume alcohol and have low levels of the B vitamin in their blood.
In this current study looking at the effect of folic acid on colon health, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health assigned nearly 700 men and women with a history of colon polyps to take 1 milligram of folic acid daily or a placebo.
Polyps, or adenomas, are abnormal growths that can develop into cancer if they are not detected and removed.
After six and a half years, it was determined that folic acid did not prevent recurrence of polyps in the colon and may increase risk in some instances.
However, among people with low blood levels of folate, taking folic acid reduced risk of recurrent polyps by about 40 percent.
This protective effect was particularly strong among people who consumed the most alcohol as alcohol is known to deplete a person's folate levels.
Currently, the Institute of Medicine recommends no more than 1 milligram of supplemental folic acid per day for healthy adults. The recommended daily intake of folate for men and women is 0.4 milligrams.
Folate is found in leafy green vegetable like kale, spinach, and Romaine lettuce as well as asparagus, broccoli, kidney beans, lentils, and oranges. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate which is found in vitamin supplements and fortified foods (white flour, white pasta, enriched cornmeal).
This study was published in the December 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.