This supplement, especially popular in pregnancy, can increase the risk of prostate cancer by 163%

A supplement that is taken often during pregnancy can carry the risk of developing prostate cancer. Let's deepen what scientific research communicates to us.

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- supplements they are used to help fight any deficiencies or anemia of vitamins or minerals present in our body. Vitamins and minerals, such as iron, calcium, vitamin C, and vitamin D are essential nutrients that the body needs to function properly. L'folic acid is one such supplement that helps produce healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body and is used primarily by pregnant women. However, taking this specific supplement could cause a number of negative effects, including the cancer. (Read also: Folic acid: what it is for and why it is important to take it during pregnancy)

The effects of folic acid

Folic acid is the man-made version of the Vitamin B9, which plays a key role in the production of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) and in the metabolism of certain amino acids, both factors necessary for cell replication. Vitamin B9 is also essential for pregnant women since this vitamin tends to protect and promote the development of the embryo. The supplement is used to prevent and treat low blood levels of folate (folate deficiency) and high blood levels of homocysteine ​​(hyperhomocysteinemia).

Scientific research, however, has shown that folic acid supplements are linked to a greater risk of prostate cancer. In a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute it was observed that patients who took this type of supplements were at a greater risk of developing prostate cancer than those who did not (according to WebMD, the risk could be greater than about 163%). The increased risk of developing prostate cancer caused by increased folic acid intake was also shown in a further study published in BMJ Journals.

The UK NHS also recommends caution when taking other medicines and advises you to speak to your doctor before starting supplementing with vitamin B9 supplements. Drugs you should watch out for include:

  • methotrexate, used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, psoriasis and some types of cancer;
  • phenytoin, fosphenytoin, phenobarbital or primidone, medicines used to treat epilepsy;
  • fluorouracil, capecitabine, raltitrexed or tegafur, medicines used to treat some types of cancer;
  • antibiotics and other medicines used to treat or prevent bacterial infection;
  • medicines that contain zinc;
  • sulfasalazine, a medicine used to treat intestinal inflammation;
  • cholestyramine, a medicine used to lower cholesterol.

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Source: JNCI / WebMD / BMJ Journals

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