Washington: Intake of high levels of folate—found in romaine lettuce, spinach, asparagus, turnip greens, mustard greens, calf``s liver, parsley, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, and lentils—may reduce colorectal cancer risk, according to a new research.
The study is the first to look at the association of folate with colorectal cancer risk with follow-up entirely after the mandatory fortification of the U.S. diet with folate.
A research team led by Victoria Stevens, Ph.D., strategic director of laboratory services at the American Cancer Society, investigated the association between folate intake and colorectal cancer among 99,523 participants in the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort.
A total of 1,023 participants were diagnosed with colorectal cancer between 1999 and 2007, a period entirely after folate fortification began.
Neither higher nor lower risk was observed during the first two years of follow-up (1999 to 2001), but during 2002 to 2007, high folate intake was associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer.
"While folate fortification has been a public health success in reducing the risk of neural tube defects, the potential for an increase risk of cancer has been legitimate," said Dr. Stevens.
"Our study population included many participants who consumed these very high levels of folate and we found no increased risk of colorectal cancer in these individuals,” she added.
The study has been published in Gastroenterology.