Folic Acid supplementation: long term safety is not an excuse for inaction
by: Michal R. Pijak
I share Lucock´s (1) concerns related to the fact that "the form of folate in supplements and in fortified foods is pteroylmonoglutamate (PGA), a form that does not occur in nature". The author is rightly critical of increasing tendency among clinicians to give supraphysiological doses of PGA.
In this regard, Ie would like to note that in Slovakia the single PGA is available only in 10 mg capsules. This dose is more than 20 times that needed to give maximal concentrations of the normal form of vitamin in plasma. Moreover, physicians are regularly prescribing up to 30mg/day of PGA according to the Prescription Drug Information.
The major concern, as Lucock point out, is that "we do not know the long-term biological effects of exposure to unmodified synthetic folate". In fact, there is evidence that neurological complications in patients with vitamin B12 deficiency (2) are not the only possible risk of folate supplementation. For example, animal and some clinical studies have suggested that folate supplementation in higher doses may increase cancer risk and accelerate tumor progression (3).
Because the long-term effects of PGA are not known, the best way of folate supplementation is through natural food. Those who are healthy and live healthy life (including eating natural food rich in folate) do not need to take folate in its synthetic supplement form.
In certain situations, however, as is the case for some aged individuals and alcoholics, supplements containing recommended amounts of PGA may be warranted. (4,5) Nevertheless, the countries that adopted a policy of folate fortification of foods should provide monitoring of the benefits and possible harms of such fortification.
1. Lucock M. Is folic acid the ultimate functional food component for disease prevention? BMJ 2004;328:211-4.
2. Reynolds EH. Benefits and risks of folic acid to the nervous system. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2002;72:567-71.
3. Kim YI. Role of folate in colon cancer development and progression. J Nutr. 2003;133:3731S-3739S.
4. Bailey LB. Folate, methyl-related nutrients, alcohol, and the MTHFR 677C-->T polymorphism affect cancer risk: intake recommendations. J Nutr 2003;133:3748S-3753S.
5. Wharton B, Booth I. Fortification of flour with folic acid. BMJ 2001;323:1198-9.
Latest Cancer News:
Cancer overtreatment must stop
Studies found that a large number of American men with prostate cancer get unnecessary and aggressive treatment, Dr. Otis Brawley says. Puma says cancer drug meets trial goal, shares soar
(Reuters) - Puma Biotechnology Inc said its experimental breast cancer drug met its main goal in a late-stage trial. Puma said on Tuesday it plans to file for marketing approval of neratinib, code named PB272, in the first half of 2015. Adjuvant treatment with the drug showed a statistically significant improvement in disease-free survival of 33 percent versus patients on placebo, according to ... New Clinical Study Aims to Investigate the Genomics of Young Lung Cancer
The Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute today launched a new study, the Genomics of Young Lung Cancer, to understand why lung cancer occurs in young adults, who quite often are athletic, never smokers and do not exhibit any of the known lung cancer genetic mutations. BRCA Gene Testing-Based Breast Cancer and Ovarian Cancer Keynote Speaker, Advocate, Advisor and 'Previvor' Launches ...
BRCA gene testing-based breast cancer and ovarian cancer keynote speaker, advocate, advisor and "previvor," Merilee Kern, today announced the launch of the "BRCA Believer" shirt and ... GÉANT: Could Data Sonification Deliver While-You-Wait Cancer Diagnosis?
Converting stem cell data into sounds could enable GPs to make instant, non-invasive cancer diagnoses during a routine check-up. With waiting times for cancer tests at a six-year high, this could significantly reduce the agonising and potentially life-threatening wait for patients Virginia Cancer Specialists Celebrates 40 Years of Patient Care in Northern Virginia
The month of July marks a very important milestone for Virginia Cancer Specialists , a long-standing member of the medical community and the region?s leading cancer care provider. Cancer Genetics, Inc. to Present at the Canaccord Genuity 34th Annual Growth Conference
RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Cancer Genetics, Inc. ("CGI" or the "Company"), an emerging leader in DNA-based diagnostics, today announced that an overview of the Company's business and commercial ... Foundation Medicine Partners with the Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute for Innovative Prospective Study Linking ...
Foundation Medicine, Inc. today announced that it has partnered with the Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute and Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation to launch a first of its kind, multi-center, international prospective study, the Genomics of Young Lung Cancer. Volunteer efforts help boost childhood cancer research with $250,000 donation
MILWAUKEE, July 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- According to the Pediatric Cancer Foundation, only 3.8 percent of all cancer research funding allocated by the federal government goes to children, despite the fact that childhood cancer is the leading cause of death for kids in the U.S. Northwestern Mutual, through its Foundation, is dedicated to helping find a cure and assisting children battling ... Cancer drug not covered, options running out
A P.E.I. woman says she can't afford the cancer drug she has been prescribed, and P.E.I. is the only province in Canada that does not pay for the medicine. Anna Peters suffers from multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow. Peters is currently staying at her hobby farm in Howe Bay, trying to make the most of her time before August, when she'll be travelling to Halifax twice a week for a new ... Study Finds New Cancer Risk From Hysterectomy Device - Wall Street Journal