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Folic Acid Supplementation Doubles Risk Of Breast Cancer In Rat Study

February 1, 2011: 07:21 AM EST
A study by Canadian researchers has found that the female offspring of rats given folic acid supplements prior to conception, during pregnancy and while breastfeeding had twice the risk of breast cancer, as well as more and faster-developing tumors than other rats. Researchers cautioned that the findings from the study may not apply to humans, so clinical research is recommended: despite breast cancer similarities, rats and humans metabolize folic acid differently. Doctors routinely urge female patients to take folic acid supplements before and during pregnancy as a way to prevent neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida. A diet rich in natural folate may help prevent cancer, but recent studies suggest that supplemental folate intake may promote some cancers, while preventing others.
A. Ly, et al. , "Effect of Maternal and Postweaning Folic Acid Supplementation on Mammary Tumor Risk in the Offspring", Cancer Research, February 01, 2011, © American Association for Cancer Research
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