Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pregnant women beware -- Folic acid plus vitamin B12 increase cancer risk?

A recent study of patients with heart disease in Norway found that they had an increased risk of cancer and death if they were treated with folic acid and vitamin B12. Previous studies have typically shown that folic acid deficiency can promote the development of cancer, while high doses of folic acid can enhance cancer cell growth. Apparently this particular study showed that there was an increased incidence of lung cancer among patients who received both folic acid and vitamin B12. Food in Norway isn't fortified with folic acid like it is in North America. Since 1998, folic acid has been added to flour and grain products in order to reduce the risk of neural-tube birth defects, which can result in spina bifida or anencephaly in developing fetuses. Pregnant women are also encouraged to take prenatal vitamins which contain even more folic acid and vitamin B12. What does this mean for the general population and especially pregnant women? Pending further studies, the authors recommend that the safety of widespread folic acid consumption be monitored. Wonderful...

1 comment:

  1. But I can feel a little better about slacking on my prenatal vitamins back in the day.