Sunday, May 1, 2011

No connection between folic acid, cancer, German scientists say

From UPI:

HAMBURG, Germany -- Mandatory fortification of foods with folic acid is a subject of controversy in Germany, researchers say.

Wolfgang Herrmann and Rima Obeid say higher dosages of folic acid have been suspected of accelerating the growth of certain cancers. But they say they evaluated different international studies and conclude that suspicion is not supported by the evidence.

Their study, published in the Deutsches Arzteblatt International, found no such association. For example, for the observed increase in the number of patients with colorectal cancer after folic acid fortification programs began in the United States and Canada, the researchers said the cancer increase can be explained by improved early detection programs during this same time period.

The study results could have an impact on whether doctors advocate women ingest folic acid before and during early pregnancy to help ensure their fetus does not develop spina bifida.

Every year, 800 pregnancies in Germany are diagnosed with spina bifida and most of these pregnancies are terminated. The researchers said extensive folic acid fortification of foods might prevent this defect in 85 percent to 100 percent of cases as it has in other countries, such as the United States where folic acid is added to food.