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Originally published May 29 2011

Folic acid during pregnancy may reduce baby's cancer risk

by Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) The importance of maintaining high intake levels of folic acid during pregnancy has been established by numerous scientific studies, all of which verify that the vitamin directly affects the intelligence and physical health of the child later in life. And now a new study adds to this body of evidence, showing a 64 percent reduction in colon cancer rates among children whose mothers supplemented with folic acid during pregnancy.

Published in the journal Gut, the new study exhibits positive benefits to taking folic acid, a B-vitamin which is found naturally in leafy-green vegetables, lentils, and beans. Besides helping to prevent birth defects, folate is known to make and help replicate DNA, as well as aid in the production of new blood cells.

"It appears that giving folic acid during pregnancy and lactation reduces DNA damage and suppresses the proliferation of cells in the colon," said Dr. Young-in Kim, gastroenterologist at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto and author of the study. "It actually increases the stability of the DNA and this might be one of the mechanisms of how folic acid in utero may protect against colon cancer."

A 2010 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that folic acid supplementation during pregnancy aids in producing children with improved brain development and better motor skills ( And in 2006, a study published in the peer-reviewed journal CANCER found that folic acid helps to prevent and treat cancer in general (

"Folic acid ... is essential in DNA synthesis and in the way in which genes are expressed," writes James Scala, PhD, in his book 20 Natural Ways to Reduce the Risk of Prostate Cancer: A Mind-Body Approach to Health and Well-Being. "Data ... indicates folic acid shortfalls predispose people to cancer."

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