Posts Tagged ‘bread’

URO TODAY: Vitamin B(12) and (in cohort studies) folate are associated with increased prostate cancer risk, according to a new study. READ MORE>

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JULY 19: SUNDAY STAR-TIMES: The NZ government’s plan to put folic acid – a suspected prostate cancer risk – in the country’s bread will be abandoned at tomorrow’s meeting of Cabinet, the paper predicts. READ MORE>

“The Key government will announce this week that it is throwing out the former government’s policy.

“Cabinet is expected to formalise the government’s position when it meets tomorrow, effectively putting the controversial issue on the back burner for three years and, crucially, beyond the next election.”

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JULY 16: DOMINION POST: A UK scientist and one from Norway have challenged Otago University professor Murray Skeaff’s report from a Prague conference that a study due out soon  will clear folic acid of its potential links to prostate cancer.

They  say he omitted to mention a Norwegian study presented to the meeting – which found an overall increased risk of cancer in two trials (including deaths) – and point out the Prague conference on Homocysteine Metabolism last month voted by majority to oppose mandatory fortification of foods with folic acid.  READ MORE>

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JULY 16: DOMINION POST: Any decision to mass-medicate a population cannot be taken lightly, says the paper in an editorial today. First, there are safety concerns: two peer-reviewed US studies have linked excessive folate to higher rates of prostate cancer in men and inflammatory bowel disease in children. There has also been concern that in elderly people, high levels of folic acid might mask low levels of B12, which can lead to neurological damage. READ MORE>


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JULY 15: DOMINION POST:  New Zealand has effectively been given the green light to axe rules forcing bakers to add folic acid to bread from September. The office of Australian parliamentary secretary for health Mark Butler told Wellington’s Dominion Post newspaper it was New Zealand’s call whether to proceed with the trans-Tasman standard, agreed in 2007. READ MORE>

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robertclark_200JULY 14: PROSTABLOG NZ: The UK scientist leading the research project that is about to report on folic acid risk factors and prostate cancer is Robert Clarke at Oxford University, says Otago University’s Professor Murray Skeaff.

Professor Skeaff is quoted in the Otago Daily Times newspaper as saying the team led by Clarke (pictured) will soon release details of a large study that found folic acid – about to be added to most NZ bread – is not a cancer risk.

The conference where preliminary results were presented was the 7th International  Conference on Homocysteine Metabolism, which Professor Skeaff attended last month.

According to the Oxford Uni website, Dr Robert Clarke joined its Clinical Trial Service Unit and Epidemiological Studies Unit in 1991.

He is an honorary consultant in Public Health Medicine, and Reader in Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine at the University of Oxford, and a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.

His research interests include the importance of traditional risk factors (blood pressure and cholesterol) and novel risk factors (homocysteine and genetic markers) for cardiovascular disease and for cognitive impairment through large-scale meta-analyses involving individual participant data from observational studies and trials.

In addition, he co-ordinates aspects of the PROCARDIS study of the genetics of coronary heart disease, Whitehall study of London Civil Servants and Oxford Healthy Aging Project.

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JULY 14: NZ HERALD: Food Safety Minister Kate Wilkinson says she will seek a review of the use of folic acid in bread – but not until a month after bakers have started adding it. READ MORE>

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JULY 14: OTAGO DAILY TIMES:   There is no evidence of an increased cancer risk from plans for bakers in New Zealand and Australia bakers to fortify their bread with folic acid, a leading scientist says. A big “state of the art” scientific study which has not yet been published, “shows that there is no increase in cancer risk with high-dose folic acid,” said Professor Murray Skeaff, a specialist in human nutrition at Otago University. READ MORE>

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JUNE 29: PROSTABLOG NZ: Is NZ Herald columnist Deborah Coddington right when she warns of a prostate cancer risk from the mandatory addition of folic acid to bread?

In her column today, titled Spoonful of meddling helps the medicine go down, she writes:

The New Zealand Food Safety Authority warns we won’t know the effect of this for at least another generation, but studies are looking at links between excess folic acid and colon and prostate cancer.

A read of the authority’s website shows the risk appears to be insignificant, if a 274-page Food Standards Australia New Zealand report called FINAL ASSESSMENT REPORT, PROPOSAL P295, Consideration of Mandatory Fortification with Folic Acid, dated October, 2006, is anything to go by. It says, in part:

One trial and three cohort studies found no significant association between serum folate levels and incidence of prostate cancer.  A large Swedish study, however, did observe a significant association between higher serum folate levels and increased risk of prostate cancer but only among study participants with a particular genetic make-up.  In this study, ‘higher’ folate levels were below the pre-voluntary fortification mean in a Perth cohort.

Based on these findings, and the lack of intake studies, the evidence base is not sufficient to draw a conclusion about the relationship of folic acid and increased risk of prostate cancer.

The results of more recent studies on the incidence of all cancers and cancer of the prostate, breast and colorectum do not alter the conclusion reached in earlier reviews (SACN, 2004; SACN, 2005; Sanjoaquin et al., 2005e) that there is no apparent increase in risk associated with higher folic acid intakes for the population as a whole.  Many of the studies suggest that some reduction in cancer risk might occur, however, most of these are observational and so might be affected by uncontrolled confounding factors.

[Following analysis of a number of studies]…In summary, the only study with intakes that are relevant for consideration to mandatory fortification reported a non-significant 11% increase in risk; the serum studies all report a non-significant associations ranging from a 15% decrease to a 20% increase in risk with higher levels.  Given this, and lack of intake studies, the evidence base is not sufficient to allow a conclusion to be drawn regarding the relationship of folic acid to the incidence of prostate cancer.

But, the March 10, 2009, issue of the US Journal of the National Cancer Institute was widely reported for this publication:

Data regarding the association between folate status and risk of prostate cancer are sparse and conflicting.

We studied prostate cancer occurrence in the Aspirin/Folate Polyp Prevention Study, a placebo-controlled randomized trial of aspirin and folic acid supplementation for the chemoprevention of colorectal adenomas conducted between July 6, 1994, and December 31, 2006. Participants were followed for up to 10.8 (median = 7.0, interquartile range = 6.0–7.8) years and asked periodically to report all illnesses and hospitalizations.

Aspirin alone had no statistically significant effect on prostate cancer incidence, but there were marked differences according to folic acid treatment. Among the 643 men who were randomly assigned to placebo or supplementation with folic acid, the estimated probability of being diagnosed with prostate cancer over a 10-year period was 9.7% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 6.5% to 14.5%) in the folic acid group and 3.3% (95% CI = 1.7% to 6.4%) in the placebo group (age-adjusted hazard ratio = 2.63, 95% CI = 1.23 to 5.65, Wald test P = .01).

In contrast, baseline dietary folate intake and plasma folate in non-multivitamin users were inversely associated with risk of prostate cancer, although these associations did not attain statistical significance in adjusted analyses.

These findings highlight the potential complex role of folate in prostate cancer and the possibly different effects of folic acid–containing supplements vs natural sources of folate.

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