Studies find food fortified with folic acid do reduce some childhood cancers

Recent studies do indicate that foods that are rich in folic acid or fortified with folic acid may reduce the incidences of some types of brain tumors and most common types of kidney cancer in children. Foods rich in folic acid may help in reducing the occurrence of Wilms’
and primitive neuroectodermal tumors or PNET in children.

Folic Acid or folate or Vitamin-B9 is usually found in beans, grains, green vegetables and fortified breakfast cereals. Folic acid helps the body in maintaining and building DNA thereby helping the body in building new red blood cells or RBC’s. Deficiency of folic acid in the blood is linked with the occurrence of colorectal cancer, certain birth defects and other types of cancer.

This new study was carried out by the Kimberly J. Johnson – Assistant Professor at Washington University in St. Louis and Amy Linabery – Post Doctoral Fellow at the University of Minnesota. The study was based after examining the information from the nine registries in the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) data base program that was established by the National Cancer Institute and the database used by the researchers is from 1986 to 2008.

The study involved about 8,829 children from birth to four years of age and who were diagnosed with cancer. This study is one of the largest to date that indeed showed a direct link between folic acid and lower incidences of certain types of cancer in children in U.S.

An interesting fact that came from the data is that Wilms’ tumor rates increased from 1986 to 1997 and after that it showed a decreasing trend and this coincides with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration notification that mandated the fortification of food with folic acid in the year-1998 due to an earlier study that indicated that consumption of folic acid do reduce in a big way the incidences of neural tube defects in new born babies. However, more research is needed to be done about this coincidence and also to confirm these results or rule out any other possible explanations.

As per another research, taking multi-vitamin with folic acid may also result in the reduction of risk arising out of preeclampsia that affects both the mother and unborn baby. The first studies that looked into the link between folic acid and cancer took place in 1960’s and 1970’s.

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