~ Folic Acid Supplements Shrink Precancerous Lesions

The results of a pilot study published early online in the American Cancer Society journal Cancer (which will appear in the July 15, 2006 issue) revealed that folic acid supplements regressed precancerous lesions of the larynx in the majority of subjects who used them. Folic acid is a B vitamin known as folate in its natural state, found in many fresh vegetables and fruits. The vitamin is more stable in its synthetic form, used in supplements and fortified foods. A deficiency of folic acid can lead to an elevation of homocysteine, an amino acid that has been linked with cardiovascular disease and the risk of some cancers when produced in the body in higher than normal levels.

Giovanni Almadori, MD and colleagues at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Policlinico A. Gemelli in Rome administered 5 milligrams folic acid three times per day to 43 patients with a precancerous condition of the larynx known as glottic laryngeal leucoplakia. Progression of the disease was monitored every 30 days for six months.

At the end of the six month period, blood levels of folate had increased while homocysteine levels decreased significantly. Thirty-one participants experienced a 50 percent or more reduction in lesion size, and in 12 of these patients the original lesion was entirely eliminated.

Although vitamin A compounds known as retinoids showed even greater effectiveness against leucoplakia in earlier research, the drugs have a high potential for toxicity. No moderate or severe adverse effects were reported in association with folic acid supplementation.

The results of the study support the hypothesis that a folate deficiency is a risk factor for cancer progression. "Folate supplementation, alone or in combination with other chemopreventive drugs, could effectively reduce the risk of progression in an already genetically altered mucosa, especially in patients with hypofolatemia," the authors conclude.

Related Health Concern: Homocysteine Reduction

Scientists have worked hard to understand why our homocysteine level increases throughout life, and how that impacts our health. Homocysteine level is affected by a number of influences, including lifestyle, dietary choices, and genetics. As we age, our ability to absorb nutrients decreases. As a result, less of the important B vitamins are available to help metabolize homocysteine. Homocysteine level is also increased by certain pharmaceuticals, an aging metabolism, smoking, drinking too much alcohol or coffee, lack of exercise, obesity, and stress.

Homocysteine levels are measured directly in the blood. An acceptable level of homocysteine depends partly on your age and gender. It is clear, however, that our homocysteine level rises as we age and that (above a certain level) homocysteine is dangerous. Conventional medicine classifies homocysteine levels as follows:
  • Normal—5 to 15 mmol/L
  • Moderate—16 to 30 mmol/L
  • Intermediate—31 to 100 mmol/L
  • Severe—Above 100 mmol/L
Management of hyperhomocysteinemia begins with folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. To varying degrees, folic acid and vitamin B12 increase the remethylation of homocysteine back into SAMe. Vitamin B6 is necessary for the conversion of homocysteine into glutathione along the transsulfuration pathway.

Free Shipping in the Continental U.S. on Orders over $50
The statements made here have not been evaluated by the FDA. The foregoing statements are based upon sound and reliable studies, and are meant for informational purposes. Consult with your medical practitioner to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms. Please always check your purchase for possible allergins and correct dosage on the bottle before use.

While we work to ensure that product information is correct, on occasion manufacturers may alter their ingredient lists. Actual product packaging and materials may contain more and/or different information than that shown on our Web site. We recommend that you do not solely rely on the information presented and that you always read labels, warnings, and directions before using or consuming a product. For additional information about a product, please contact the manufacturer. Content on this site is for reference purposes and is not intended to substitute for advice given by a physician, pharmacist, or other licensed health-care professional. You should not use this information as self-diagnosis or for treating a health problem or disease. Contact your health-care provider immediately if you suspect that you have a medical problem. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. Life Ex Online assumes no liability for inaccuracies or misstatements about products.