A higher dietary intake of folate from produce and folic acid from fortified foods and supplements may lower the risk of colon cancer. This news comes from a study involving more than 99,000 participants in a cancer prevention study who were followed for eight years.
Folate, also known as vitamin B9, is found naturally in spinach, green vegetables, beans, asparagus, bananas, melons, lemons, legumes, yeast, and mushrooms. Foods fortified with folic acid (a synthetic form of folate) include orange juice, baked goods, and cereals.
This isn’t the first study to show that high folate intake reduces the incidence of colorectal cancer, but it is the first to show that the risk is lower regardless of whether the vitamin comes from natural folates in unprocessed foods or as folic acid in supplements or fortified foods.
In addition, the study found no evidence that fortification of foods with folic acid increases the risk of cancer as has been suggested. The researchers reported that no increased risk of colorectal cancer was found even at high levels of folate intake. The study was published in the July, 2011 issue of Gastroenterology.