For those of you who have been faithful blog readers, you know how strongly I feel against vitamin and mineral supplements based on the evidence. Even though I've read myriad studies showing the danger of taking nutrients in pill form, I never cease to be amazed at new research.
Yesterday was no exception, as I read the an article online by Prevention Magazine stating the danger of supplemental folic acid. (Read entire article here.)
Basically, it seems researchers are concerned that most Americans are consuming too much folic acid these days, since it is fortified in so many foods, and many people take multivitamins also containing folic acid. The problem is, several studies have linked supplemental folic acid (which not naturally occurring in food, unlike folate, which is found in fruit, vegetables, whole grains and legumes) with cancer.
One study, published in the Journal of American Medical Association (Nov. 18, 2009) found that people with ischemic heart disease who took a folic acid and B12 supplement for three years were 21% more likely to develop cancer and 38% more likely to die from cancer than those who did not take these supplements.
In another study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found men taking folic acid supplements over seven years were more than twice as likely to develop prostate cancer verses men who didn't take folic acid.
On the flip side, folate found in whole plant foods, has a protective effect against heart disease and cancer. So let's eat better and skip the supplements!