Colorectal Cancer News
Folic Acid (Vitamin B) May Increase Cancer Risk
Vitamin B supplements for cancer patients may result in a deterioration of their health, a new study suggests.
Researchers from Haukeland University in Norway evaluated the effects of treatment with B vitamins, particularly folic acid, on cancer outcomes and mortality in two clinical trials.
A total of 6,837 patients with ischemic heart disease were treated with B vitamins or placebo between 1998 and 2005, and were followed through December 31, 2007. Patients were given combinations of folic acid plus vitamin B12 and vitamin B6.
The study found that folate levels increased more than six-fold among participants given folic acid. After a median 39 months of treatment and an additional 38 months of post-trial observational follow-up, 341 participants, or 10 percent, who received folic acid plus vitamin B12 verses 288 participants, or 8.4 percent, who did not receive such treatment were diagnosed with cancer.
The study authors concluded that treatment with folic acid plus vitamin B12 was associated with increased risk of cancer and related mortality in patients with ischemic heart disease in Norway, where there is no folic acid fortification of foods.
- Ebbing M, Bønaa KH, Nygård O, et al. Cancer incidence and mortality after treatment with folic acid and vitamin B12. JAMA. 2009 Nov 18;302(19):2119-26.
- Colon Cancer Alliance. www.ccalliance.org. Copyright® 2009