Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
Tags: folic | acid | breast | cancer | vitamins

Will Folic Acid Give Me Cancer?

By    |   Friday, 24 Aug 2012 09:33 AM

Question: If I’m a normal, healthy woman do I need folic acid supplements? I am worried about a study that links it to breast cancer.

Dr. Hibberd's answer:
A study published in 2010 combined the results of eight large clinical trials of folic acid supplements. The conclusion was that folic acid supplements had no significant effect on the risk of heart attacks, strokes, or cancer (considering all types of cancer combined). The American Cancer Society recommends eating a variety of healthful foods -- with most of them coming from plant sources -- rather than relying on supplements, especially for normal healthy women like you. Vitamin and folic acid supplements may help some people, such as pregnant women, women of childbearing age, and people with restricted food intakes, but be sure your B12 levels are normal, as folate administration will mask a B12 deficiency , and set you up for serious problems down the line if not managed properly. Remember it is the balance and ratio with vitamins that probably count for much more than absolute amounts assuming you consume above the RDA minimum. There is no need for you to be alarmed about the risk for breast cancer. A large study of nurses (included in the eight studies discussed above) found that folate intake did not have a significant effect on breast cancer risk overall. But women who had one or more alcoholic drinks a day and took in enough folate had lower breast cancer risk than those who drank and did not take in enough folate.

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