Navigation Links
Health benefits, consequences of folic acid dependent on circumstances
Date:4/1/2009

Boston, MA and Washington, D.C.April 1, 2009For the past several decades, evidence has shown that greater dietary intake of the B-vitamin, folate, offers protection against the development of certain common cancers and reduces neural tube defects in newborns, opening new avenues for public health interventions that have a great impact on health. However, folate's central role as an essential factor in DNA synthesis also means that abundant availability of the vitamin can enhance the development of pre-cancerous and cancerous tumors. Further, the intake of folic acid that results from consuming foods that are voluntarily fortified (e.g.: ready-to-eat cereals) in combination with the additional intake received from mandatory fortification of flour means that supplementary intake of folic acid is unnecessary for many segments of the population, and may even present a risk. Nevertheless, the issue is a complicated one since women of child-bearing age seem to benefit from supplemental folic acid in regard to its protection against birth defects. In the April issue of the journal Nutrition Reviews, two new articles by Omar Dary, Ph.D., and Joel B. Mason, M.D., assess the conditions under which folic acid can be beneficial and harmful and contribute to guidelines for the healthful intake of folic acid as a complement to dietary folate.

The consequences of inadequate folate intake remain prevalent in many countries, even in industrial countries where specific interventions of folic acid have not been implemented. Moreover, there continues to be some concernwhich, to date, lacks compelling scientific evidencethat the synthetic form of the vitamin, folic acid, might have adverse effects that do not exist with natural sources of folate.

Under most circumstances, adequate intake of folate appears to assume the role of a protective agent against cancer, most notably colorectal cancer. However, in select circumstances in which an individual who harbors a pre-cancerous or cancerous tumor consumes too much folic acid, the additional amounts of folate may instead facilitate the promotion of cancer. In countries in which the fortification of flour with folic acid is working well, additional supplementation in the form of vitamin pills can lead to excessive intakes of the vitamin, which can then have undesirable adverse effects.

Thus, folate appears to assume different guises depending on the circumstances. The level of intake of this micronutrient that is safe for one person may be potentially harmful to another.

"These effects of folate on the risk of developing cancer have created a global dilemma in the efforts to institute nationwide folic acid fortification programs around the world," Mason notes.

Most individuals in the U.S. population are now folate-replete, so one consideration would be to reduce the doses of the vitamin that are present in most over-the-counter supplements. Many people receive sufficient amounts of folate through their diet.

Now that the supply of folic acid in the diet is much larger than it was prior to mandatory fortification, food policies may need to be adjusted to the current knowledge and the new circumstances.

"The design of cogent public health policies that effectively optimize health for many while presenting no or minimal risk to others, must often occur in the absence of complete information," Mason concludes. "However, we are nevertheless obliged to deliberate with as much of an in-depth understanding as the existing science allows."


'/>"/>

Contact: Amy Molnar
professionalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.net
201-748-8844
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Study finds blocking angiogenesis signaling from inside cell may lead to serious health problems
2. Youre likely to order more calories at a healthy restaurant
3. UC health news: molecular pathway may predict chemotherapy effectiveness
4. Genes, Environment and Health Initiative invests in genetic studies, environmental monitoring
5. UCR engineers to develop new tool to measure how environmental exposures affect health
6. Researchers developing device to predict proper light exposure for human health
7. Thousands of starving children could be restored to health with peanut butter program
8. Smithsonian researchers develop models to assess wetland health
9. AIBS to cohost symposium on evolution, disease and human health
10. NASA celebrates a decade observing climate impacts on health of worlds oceans
11. Conference to examine role technology can play in helping US manage healthcare costs
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/2/2016)... Technology Enhancements Accelerate Growth of X-ray Imaging ... and computed radiography markets in Thailand ... Indonesia (TIM). It provides an in-depth analysis ... as regional market drivers and restraints. The study offers ... market attractiveness, both for digital and computed radiography. Market ...
(Date:2/1/2016)... Feb. 1, 2016  Today, the first day of ... plans to develop a first of its kind workplace ... IBM Watson. In the first application of ... IBM ), and Welltok will create a new ... with cognitive analytics, delivered on Welltok,s health optimization platform. ...
(Date:1/25/2016)... Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS ) today announced the implementation ... New York City , to help U.S. ... the United States using passports that are ... of the system at Dulles last year. The system will ... 2016. --> pilot testing of the system at ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... Inc. (NASDAQ: NBIX ) today announced its financial results for ... --> --> For the fourth quarter of ... $0.34 loss per share, compared to a net loss of $19.4 ... 2014. For the year ended December 31, 2015, the Company reported ... as compared to a net loss of $60.5 million, or $0.81 ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016  Wellcentive today announced ... Portland, Oregon -based community care organization ... population health analytics, quality reporting and care management ... strengthen its team of quality managers, analysts and ... the provider groups serving FamilyCare members. ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... 150 years, continues today to pursue the highest level of accuracy and quality ... the AR9 Refractometer and the AR5 Refractometer. Accurate, reliable and tough enough ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... Md. , Feb. 10, 2016  The Maryland ... Busch , has announced that University of Maryland School ... PhD, MBA and University of Maryland Medical System President ... of the "Speaker,s Medallion," the highest honor given to ... of Delegates. Dean Reece and Mr. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: