- Vitamin Guide
- Health Conditions
- Health Centers
- Diet & Weight Loss
- Herbal Remedies
- Current News
- Food Guide
A study in Pediatrics suggests that pregnant women who eat grain products fortified with folic acid may also be helping to decrease some types of childhood cancer. Nutrients such as folic acid and other vitamins are commonly added to products we buy at the store such as bread and cereal—a process referred to as fortification.
To explore whether kids born to women exposed to folic acid–fortified food sources have lower cancer risk, researchers looked at the incidence of childhood cancers in kids up to four years old during the time period before food was fortified with folic acid and after 1996 when the US Food and Drug Administration required that all enriched grain products be fortified with folic acid.
Results showed that the rates of certain types of childhood cancers did, in fact, decrease after folic acid was added to foods, including the rates of Wilms tumors, which affect the kidney; primitive neuroectodermal tumors that affect the nervous system; and ependymomas, which affect the brain or spinal cord. The incidence of most childhood cancers, however, did not change.
The authors caution that, in regards to their study, “it is difficult to draw firm conclusions regarding the isolated effects of folic acid [fortification of food] because other temporal trends were occurring during the study period,” such as an increasing trend of women taking folic acid supplements.
(Pediatrics 2012;129:1125 DOI 10.1542/peds.2011–3418)