Study says folate cancels out increased cancer risk from alcohol

The health benefits and detriments of drinking alcohol are often debatedSome research shows that moderate consumption of red wine helps reduce heart disease and bad cholesterol. But, there are also many known risks with excessive alcohol consumption, including increased chance of cancer.

In a recent article of The Register-Guard, nutritionist Linda Prout cites a Harvard study about the interaction between alcohol and folate. Folate is a B-vitamin that's essential for DNA creation and cell growth. Alcohol inhibits the body's absorption of folate, and deficiencies in folate are linked to several cancers, memory loss and depression. According to the study, adding more folate to your diet can protect against cancer risk linked to alcohol consumption.

You can increase your intake of folate by choosing foods that contain high amounts of the vitamin - such as leafy greens, peanuts, lentils, garbanzos and other beans. Some grains are fortified with the synthetic form of folate, which is known as folic acid. Taking folate supplements shows the same benefits as consuming the food form. Whichever way you choose, aim to consume at least 400 micrograms a day to offset the risk of disease. Read Prout's complete article here.

Remember that if you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. According to the dietary guidelines from the United States Department of Agriculture, moderate drinking is defined as an average of two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. One drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.

If you are a WVCI patient, before choosing to add more folate to your diet, please consult with our dietitian or your physician.

By Josh Kermisch, executive director of WVCI

Posted December 27, 2011


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