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Folic Acid Does Not Prevent Colorectal Tumors

Folic acid is an essential vitamin involved in the maturation of red blood cells and the development of the fetal nervous system. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)[1] suggests that folic acid supplementation does not reduce the risk of benign colorectal tumors and may even increase the risk of higher grade tumors when administered at the upper recommended limit.

Dr. Bernard F. Cole of Dartmouth Medical School, one of the authors of the study, was surprised to find more adenomas in the patients who had received folic acid although the risk did not differ significantly between the experimental and control groups. Cole and his colleagues concluded that: "our study indicates that folate, when administered as folic acid for up to 6 years, does not decrease the risk of adenoma formation in the large intestine among individuals with previously removed adenomas." The researchers also suggested further study: "In view of the fortification of the US food supply with folate, and some suggestions that folate could conceivably increase the risk of neoplasia even outside the colorectum, this line of investigation should have a high priority."
Learn more about vitamins and minerals.

[1] "Folic Acid for the Prevention of Colorectal Adenomas: A Randomized Clinical Trial."
JAMA 2007 297: 2351-2359, Vol. 297 No. 21, June 6, 2007 [Article]

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