Conventional prenatal vitamins may do more harm than good

It is imperative for me to make women aware that they may be endangering their health and the health of their unborn children by using conventional supplements.

Nearly all multivitamins and prenatal vitamins contain folic acid.

Unlike most physicians, I do not recommend folic acid supplementation for pregnant women.  Folic acid supplementation can damage the health of women and their children.

Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, a member of the family of B vitamins that is involved in regulating DNA synthesis and gene expression. Because of these crucial functions, folate plays an important role in fetal development - folate is essential during pregnancy, especially early on in pregnancy, for the prevention of neural tube defects. Folate is abundant in green vegetables like spinach, collards, bok choy, artichokes, and broccoli.

The Standard American Diet (SAD) is so nutritionally inadequate that the U.S. government and most physicians encourage women to take folic acid supplements, assuming that they do not eat green vegetables and are folate deficient.

Taking synthetic folic acid is not the same as getting natural folate from vegetables.

Scientific studies have revealed the dangers to women and their children involved in taking folic acid supplements:

  • Women who followed the typical recommendations to take folic acid during pregnancy and were followed by researchers for thirty years were twice as likely to die from breast cancer.1   Another study following women for ten years concluded that those who took multivitamins containing folic acid increased their breast cancer risk by 20-30%.2   Folic acid in supplement form may contribute to producing a cancer-promoting environment in the body – in addition to breast cancer, synthetic folic acid has been linked to dramatic increases in prostate and colorectal cancers, as well as overall cancer incidence.3
  • Folic acid supplementation by pregnant women has been associated with incidence of childhood asthma, infant respiratory tract infections, and cardiac birth defects.4

However, food folate is associated with benefits for both women and children:

  • Women with lower levels of food folate intake are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer.5
  • The children of women who consumed more food folate during pregnancy were less likely to develop ADHD.6
  • Several studies have made connections between vegetable intake during pregnancy and lower risks of childhood cancers.7

This is too important an issue to ignore, and women are simply not told the facts here.

I needed to take action and supply a prenatal and other supplements that did not contain folic acid as well as other supplemental ingredients with documented risk. 

 My Gentle Prenatal contains the same carefully designed combination of vitamins and minerals present in my original multivitamin and mineral, Gentle Care Formula, but has been uniquely tailored to the needs of child-bearing and pregnant women. 

Read more about my Gentle Prenatal

 

 

 

References:

 [1] Charles D et al. Taking folate in pregnancy and risk of maternal breast cancer. BMJ 2004;329:1375-6

[2] Stolzenberg-Solomon RZ et al. Folate intake, alcohol use, and postmenopausal breast cancer risk in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Apr;83(4):895-904.

[3] Fife, J et al. Folic Acid Supplementation and Colorectal Cancer Risk; A Meta-analysis. Colorectal Dis. 2009 Oct 27. [Epub ahead of print]

Hirsch S et al. Colon cancer in Chile before and after the start of the flour fortification program with folic acid. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2009 Apr;21(4):436-9.

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/591111

Figueiredo JC et al. Folic acid and risk of prostate cancer: results from a randomized clinical trial. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2009 Mar 18;101(6):432-5. Epub 2009 Mar 10.

Ebbing M et al. Cancer Incidence and Mortality After Treatment With Folic Acid and Vitamin B12. JAMA. 2009;302(19):2119-2126

[4]   Whitrow MJ. Effect of Supplemental Folic Acid in Pregnancy on Childhood Asthma: A Prospective Birth Cohort Study. Am J Epidemiol. 2009 Oct 30. [Epub ahead of print]

Haberg SE, London SJ, Stigum H, Nafstad P, Nystad W. Folic acid supplements in pregnancy and early childhood respiratory health. Arch Dis Child. 2009 Mar;94(3):180-4. Epub 2008 Dec 3.

Källén B. Congenital malformations in infants whose mothers reported the use of folic acid in early pregnancy in Sweden. A prospective population study. Congenit Anom (Kyoto). 2007 Dec;47(4):119-24.

[5] Sellers TA et al. Dietary folate intake, alcohol, and risk of breast cancer in a prospective study of postmenopausal women. Epidemiology. 2001 Jul;12(4):420-8.

Kim YI. Does a high folate intake increase the risk of breast cancer? Nutr Rev. 2006 Oct;64(10 Pt 1):468-75.

[6] Wiley-Blackwell (2009, October 28). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity Problems Associated With Low Folate Levels In Pregnant Women. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 5, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2009/10/091028134631.htm

[7] Kwan ML et al. Maternal diet and risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Public Health Rep. 2009 Jul-Aug;124(4):503-14.

Tower RL et al. The epidemiology of childhood leukemia with a focus on birth weight and diet. Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 2007;44(3):203-42.

Petridou E et al. Maternal diet and acute lymphoblastic leukemia in young children.Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2005 Aug;14(8):1935-9.

Jensen CD et al. Maternal dietary risk factors in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (United States).Cancer Causes Control. 2004 Aug;15(6):559-70.

Huncharek M et al. A meta-analysis of maternal cured meat consumption during pregnancy and the risk of childhood brain tumors. Neuroepidemiology. 2004 Jan-Apr;23(1-2):78-84.

 

 

 

Fast Food, Obesity Blamed for Increased Colorectal Cancer

A new study in the journal of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention reveals the rate of colon cancer among young adults—under the age of 50—is increasing. Data showed regardless of sex, race and age incidences of colon cancer between 1992 and 2005 rose 1.5% in men and 1.6% in women, with the largest increases in men and women, ages 20 to 29, with 52% and 5.6% respectively. Experts blame consumption of fast foods and high rates of obesity; via EurekAlert!

It’s a good idea to kick fast food as soon as possible. In April, a study showed kids eating fast food are more likely to develop poor eating habits. And given the unhealthiness of fast food, some Los Angeles officials don’t want any more fast food restaurants in their neighborhoods.

In related news, eating lots of fruits and veggies helps cut colon cancer risk in men, but taking high-dose folic acid supplements can raise colon cancer risk, by as high as 162%. Eek!

Image credit: Laughing Squid

Folic Acid Ups Colon Cancer Risk

This is definitely one acid trip you don’t want to go on. New findings in the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology reveal foods fortified with folic acid may increase colon cancer rates. In 2000, the Chilean government instituted a mandatory folic acid fortification in wheat flour in order to help prevent spina bifida. Since that time, reported cases of colon cancer have jumped 162% in people ages 35 to 64 and 190% in people 65 to 79 and there was a slight increase in breast cancer rates too. Chile uses a higher dose of folic acid than other countries; from Medical News Today.

In 2007, a similar study reported 15,000 more cases of colon cancer with folic acid enrichment and another report showed folic acid harms the heart. In general, enriched foods are pretty silly. Food producers strip all the nutrients out of food and then put something back in and call it healthy? Pretty kooky.

In the past, folic acid supplements have been shown to heighten men’s risk of prostate cancer, 9.7% after 10 years. That why supplements, like Gentle Care, don’t contain folic acid.

Image credit: greg——biché

Folic Acid Pills Up Prostate Cancer Risk

Most people think vitamins are healthy. No questions asked. Not always the case. According to new research in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute daily folic acid supplementation may increase men’s risk of prostate cancer. The study showed men taking 1 mg of folic acid everyday had more than twice the risk of developing prostate cancer than participants taking a placebo. Experts examined data on 643 men, with an average age of 57.4. After ten years the cancer risk among supplement-takers was 9.7%, but only 3.3% for men taking the placebo; Med News Today reports.

Isolated beta-carotene isn’t the only thing that can increase men’s risk of prostate cancer. Eating too much meat messes with a hormones resulting in more prostate cancer, while foods like broccoli provide protect against prostate cancer. And in the past, a study of 300,000 men revealed men taking more than seven vitamins a week had double the risk of getting fatal prostate cancer, compared to men who never took pills.

Now, I’m not into hocking products, but this is relevant. Dr. Fuhrman has known about link between folic acid and prostate cancer for a long time, that’s why his daily vitamin supplement Gentle Care has no folic acid and no isolated beta-carotene. Isolated beta-carotene was recently found to raise lung cancer risk. Eek!

Image credit: Ranoush.