Gluten Free Guerrillas
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Folic acid in supplements

This has come up in a few topic's recently and it has been quite rightly stated that we need to have folic acid to absorb iron/vitamin B12 into our bodies.

However synthetic folic acid can have adverse effects on some so it is much better to have it either from natural sources (foods) or a supplement that uses folates. I'll just post the link and you can make up your own minds:

4 Replies

Very interesting! I had a baby still born with anencephaly which was caused by folic acid deficiency. My other 2 pregnancies I had to take folic acid daily 3 months before conception and 3 months into the pregnancy. When I was diagnosed coeliac my consultant said there was no connection to my baby's death. Anencephaly is neural tube defect and so is spina bifita!!


This article is peddling bullshit, I'm afraid. Meta-analyses have shown there is no cancer risk associated with folic acid supplementation.

In fact, if you are folate deficient, folic acid supplements get absorbed much better than folates in food and are the best way to rapidly increase stores. Obviously, someone with no underlying conditions and a normal diet should not require folic acid supplementation.

I'd approach any article which contains links to the authors own 'alternative medicine' website in order to make himself money with a large degree of caution. This guy is a quack and has been ripped apart by the scientific blogosphere many a time:


Hi Northern soul what are you trying to say LOL, I don't doubt what you say about him. I have read this about folic acid in other sources and chose his link because he is an MD.

I think we rely too much on supplements to supplement a poor diet. And I would've thought that folate from a natural source is better than an artificial one.


Just because someone went to medical school does not mean you should automatically believe what they say!

And I very much agree with you with regards to supplementation. All the more reason not to buy the rubbish this guy sells on his website. But supplementary folic acid is more bioavailable than dietary folate, I'm afraid. Around twice as much, if taken correctly:

As for the link you posted- it's very interesting but is a relatively small study (200-odd women) with a very specific kind of breast cancer. Other studies on post-menopausal breast cancer have shown the opposite effect:

For colorectal cancer, for example, numerous meta-analyses have shown that folic acid levels are inversely related to colorectal cancer incidence.

For over-all risk of all cancer, cancer-related mortality and over-all mortality, a recent meta-analysis of 37,000 people demonstrated there was no link:

The fact remains that mechanistic link between folate intake and cancer has yet to be fully elucidated and will be dependent not only on the individual's genetic background, the genetic (and epigenetic) make-up of the tumour, the type of cancer, alcohol and other B vitamin intake, etc. etc.

Basically, I think that supplementation is only necessary if one has been diagnosed as having megaloblastic anaemia secondary to folate deficiency or is pregnant or planning on getting pregnant or have some other condition that results in increased demand of folate. As you rightly say- a decent diet (gluten free or not!) is the best way to get folate.


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