Folate, also known as vitamin B9, is a water-soluble vitamin. The name of folate is derived from the Latin word folium, which means leaf. Folate is found naturally in green leafy vegetables, cereals, legumes and fruits, while folic acid is the synthetic form of the folate.
Epidemiological studies have shown that high folate intake may be associated with decreased risk of colon, pancreatic and esophageal cancers. Although some studies have also suggested an inverse association between folate intake and risk of breast, lung and stomach cancers, other studies reported no significant associations.
The study reported below is the latest study to evaluate the relationship between folate intake and cancer risk in Uruguay.
The investigators conducted a case-control study of dietary folate intake and risk of 11 cancer sites among 5,571 individuals in Uruguay between 1996 and 2004.
Using a statistical model, investigators discovered that intake of dietary folate decreased the risk of oral cavity cancers by 51%, esophageal cancer by 71%, upper aerodigestive tract cancers by 59%, colorectal cancers by 58% and kidney cancers by 65%.
This study confirms the recommendations of American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) that eating a variety of fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of cancers.
Source: Annals of Oncology 22; 444-451, 2011.
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