In more evidence that messing with nature can have negative health consequences, a new study from Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has confirmed that synthetic folic acid supplementation may increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
This conclusion was determined using the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, which included 88,045 postmenopausal women who were tested and studied between 1993-1998, just following the mandated folic acid supplementation requirement in the United States.
Most of the folate supplementation to foods utilizes synthetic folic acid, rather than nature’s molecule, referred to as folate (though many incorrectly refer to folic acid as folate).
The research found 1,003 colorectal cancer incidences among the study population as of 2009. When nutrient consumption was analyzed, the researchers found that those women in the top quarter of folic acid consumption had higher incidence of colorectal cancer between three an nine years after the folic acid mandate.
The researchers could not determine whether the cause was too much supplementation or due to the supplement being the synthetic form of the nutrient. The two are indelibly tied, however, because a healthy diet that supplies the natural form of folate has been connected with reduced cancer incidence.
Other research has found that high supplementation of synthetic folic acid can increase malignant tumor proliferation and increase cancer risk in general.