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Supplement stakeholders criticize folic acid-cancer study

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

A report analyzing the association of folic acid and vitamin B12 supplementation with increased cancer incidence contains numerous flaws, says the Council for Responsible Nutrition and the Natural Products Association. The Journal of the American Medical Association published the 1study Nov. 18, which looked at two Norwegian homocysteine-lowering trials of patients with ischemic heart disease. Researchers led by Marta Ebbing of Haukeland University in Bergen, Norway, found in the combined analysis of 6,837 patients that the study population had a 25 percent higher incidence of lung cancer than the general population of Norway, where there is no folic acid fortification. NPA's VP of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Daniel Fabricant called the study "flawed" due to its lack of analysis into intervening factors, including patients' treatment with beta-blockers and statins. Andrew Shao, VP of scientific and regulatory affairs for CRN, said the conclusions are "inconsistent with the larger body of data" on folic acid's benefits and with the inverse relationship between folic acid fortification and lung cancer incidence in the U.S
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