The search for the causes of various forms of cancer has had many suspects and culprits some proving to be innocent with others proving to be a cause of worry. The difficulty in the search for cancer causes is made difficult by the time it usually takes for the cancers to show up after the exposure to the cause; some cancers show up decades after the exposure and this makes the causes that much harder to know. This means that the studies must usually be done for extended periods such as the nine year study that was done to determine whether vitamin B raised the risk of developing colon cancer.

Vitamin B and Colon Cancer

There have been concerned raised in the past about the possibility of B vitamins having an effect on cancer. Opinion on this effect has generally been different with some suggesting that the B supplements could raise the chances of lesions that come before the cancer while others suggested that the B supplements may actually have a cancer-deterring effect. This has been a particular concern since 35% of people in America take supplements that contain these vitamins. Folic acid also known as B9 is widely consumed by millions as it is found in fortified cereals.

A study was carried out to determine whether either of these thoughts was valid. The study involved 5400 women who were at an average age of 62 years. These women were at a high risk of contracting a cardiovascular disease. A vitamin B combo pill and a placebo were used in this experiment. Those who took the actual supplement were given high doses of folic acid, 50 mg of B6 and 1mg of B12 each day. The study picked on 1400 of these women who were given endoscopic exams in the nine years after the start of the study.

The results will either disappoint or delight many because from the study it was concluded that the supplements were neither harmful nor beneficial as far as the study was concerned. For those who were hoping that the B supplements would offer them a little extra protection, this is disappointing but the truly important result was that these supplements don’t have a negative effect either. With so many people being exposed to folic acid each day during breakfast, it would be bad news to find out that your breakfast cereal was quietly plotting against you.

On a wider scale

This study was important because of the important role that B vitamins such as folic acid play in our bodies. In the United States, there are many foods which are fortified using folic acid. This is done because this particular B vitamin helps to reduce birth defects like defects to the neural-tube. If the study had shown that folic acid was indeed harmful then the nation and the world at large would be facing a dilemma. What can be said at this point is that reducing the intake of processed and red meat, consuming vegies and fruits and ensuring you are always active will all reduce chances of getting colorectal cancer.