Follow-up on folate and cancer risk

We’ve had a recent comment on our own post regarding the importance of B12 and folate supplementation for people with HIV. The comment expressed concern about some reports that folate may be associated with increased cancer risk. Here’s a reply to that comment:

We recommend this web page for a recent study of folate and REDUCED colorectal cancer risk:

The 2011 article cited, by a well-known nutrition scientist, finds folate from diet and folate from supplements both associated with reduced colorectal cancer incidence–when taken over a long period (we’re talking about 15-20-30 years). This fits with what is generally understood about the value of vegetables in reducing cancer risk. Not surprising to us is the other finding of the study: that short-term folate intake, around the time of the development of pre-cancers, is not going to help reduce cancer incidence! Indeed, many supplements do not necessarily produce pronounced short-term effects, but rather show health benefits over the long term.


Higher Vitamin D levels linked to lower colorectal cancer risk

A January 2010 article in the British Medical Journal looked at large population samples from Western Europe and found that higher Vitamin D levels were associated with a substantial reduction in risk of colorectal cancer.

Many public health advocates are now suggesting that supplementation in the range of 1,800 to 4,000 IU vitamin D per day may provide multiple benefits, including reduction in risk of some cancers.

Reference: Jenab, M, et al. Association between pre-diagnostic circulating vitamin D concentration and risk of colorectal cancer in European populations: a nested case-control study.
British Medical Journal, 21 January 2010.

See the NYBC entries Vitamin D 3 – 2500IU and Vitamin D3 – 1000IU for more details.

Vitamin D: more research, more benefits

Research on Vitamin D has been prominently featured in National Institutes of Health/Office of Dietary Supplements research reports in the last few years. Here’s a capsule summary from NYBC’s newsletter THE SUPPLEMENT:

Vitamin D3 has been in the news a lot—recent data show it could help prevent up to half of the cases of breast cancer and two-thirds of the cases of colorectal cancer. D3 is also known to play a powerful role in immune function, working in complex ways to increase the body’s immune response against infectious microorganisms, while also having the capacity to suppress autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis. In people with HIV, D3 may play a part in maintaining CD4 counts. Lastly, a scientific paper published in 2006 suggested that supplementing with D3 in the winter months could ward off respiratory infections such as the flu! In short, there’s a lot more to this vitamin than the well-known connection with bone health.

Note: NYBC stocks D3, a naturally occurring form that is more bioavailable than older forms of the supplement.

NYBC Vitamin D3 Product Description

Additional note: the authors of an article in the June, 2007 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that supplementing with calcium + Vitamin D3 “substantially reduced all-cancer risk for post-menopausal women.” 

Citation: Lappe JM, Travers-Gustafson D, Davies KM, Recker RR, and Heaney RP, “Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk: results of a randomized trial.”