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2013-09-18

Folic Acid Linked to Breast Cancer

So back in January, I discussed a study that linked higher folic acid consumption to colon cancer. Remember, by definition, folic acid is the synthetic derivative of folate. When we ingest folic acid (supplements or from fortification of food), our bodies must convert it to L-methylfolate, the biologically active form of folate our bodies can use.

However, people with intestinal or liver disorders may have reduced conversion of folic acid, and further, studies show that up to 60% of the population have defective enzymes in the conversion process. The presence of unmetabolized/synthetic folic acid in the body seems to be linked to various solid tumours, and this new study now links it to breast cancer.
This new study involved 1582 African American women (749 with breast cancer) and 1434 European American women (744 with breast cancer).

In the African American women, higher the natural folate intake, the lower risk for estrogen receptor positive tumours. In the European American women, a higher intake of synthetic folic acid increased the risk of estrogen receptor positive tumours.

As I mentioned before, if we have one group showing increased risk with high intake of synthetic folic acid, and another group with decreased risk with high intake of natural folate, it must mean the form of folate is important.

So be sure you're getting your meeting your folate  needs through a diet high in natural folate. If you need to supplement (and many do, especially women of childbearing ages), make sure you buy L-methylfolate, the prec-onverted, biologically active form. I believe you'll be hearing a lot more about L-methylfolate in the coming months to years.


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Source: Associations of dietary folate, vitamin B6, B12 and methionine intake with risk of breast cancer among African American (AA) and European American (EA) women

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