Folic Acid Supplements Unlikely to Heighten Cancer Risks, Meta-Analysis Finds — Physician’s First Watch
Folic Acid Supplements Unlikely to Heighten Cancer Risks, Meta-Analysis Finds
By Joe Elia
Despite concerns that folic acid could increase the risks for cancer, a Lancet meta-analysis finds little supporting evidence. Commentators say the question isn't resolved yet, however.
Researchers examined patient-level data from 13 randomized trials of folic acid supplementation including a total of 50,000 patients with treatment lasting, on average, 5 years. During the duration of treatment, they found no evidence of elevated risk for cancer overall, or for individual cancer types; nor did they find an effect trend with longer treatment duration. There was also no evidence of a decreased risk.
The typical supplementation doses (2.0 mg/day) were an order of magnitude higher than those typically delivered by national flour fortification programs (roughly 0.2 mg/day in the U.S.).
Commentators advise caution in interpreting the findings. They argue that folate's relationship with cancer is complex and that longer follow-up is needed.