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Colon cancer Linked to low-folate diet

A diet poor in folic acid appears to enhance the risk of colorectal cancer in laboratory mice which suggested that a similar deficiency //could also be linked to colon cancer in humans, according to a study by Canadian researchers.

Scientists at McGill University in a one-year study of 137 mice, saw that animals that were fed a diet low in folic acid had a greater likelihood of developing colorectal cancer than rodents which were given a fully balanced diet containing adequate folate.

Geneticist Rima Rozen, scientific director of the Montreal Children's Hospital and the study's lead investigator said, "We found tumours in the mice that were on the low-folate diet and no tumors in mice that were on the regular diet."

The researchers observed that one in four mice that were given low-folate diets developed intestinal tumors, with some of the animals developing more than one each, said researchers.

The findings of the study was published on Wednesday in the journal Cancer Research.

Rozen asserted that several human studies have revealed that low intake of folic acid, found in leafy green vegetables and citrus fruits, might be associated with an increased risk of colon cancer. However such studies cannot pinpoint with any accuracy what factor or factors definitely lead to a person developing a certain cancer.

The use of mice in the study allowed researchers to carefully control possible contributing factors — including environment and diet, she said, bringing them closer to a direct cause and effect.

Rozen said "What folate does, or the mechanism we propose in this study, is that lack of folate damages your DNA." Folic acid importance to health is a well established fact. It is needed to help cells retain the integrity of DNA during division. In addition it has been shown to help prevent certain types of heart disease, and women who do not consume sufficient folic acid during pregnan
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