This B Vitamin Reduces Bowel Cancer Risk Up To 17%

One of the B vitamins, when consumed at higher levels, was found to lower the odds of getting bowel cancer.

One of the B vitamins, when consumed at higher levels, was found to lower the odds of getting bowel cancer.

A study reveals that higher intake of dietary folate or folic acid supplements may reduce the odds of developing bowel cancer — technically known as colorectal cancer.

Increased folate intake reduces the risk of bowel cancer somewhere between 7-17 percent.

Furthermore, researchers found that for every 260 μg more dietary folate consumed, there was a seven percent reduction risk in bowel cancer.

Dr Konstantinos Tsilidis, the study’s senior author, said:

“When it comes to bowel cancer, there are a number of things that people can do to reduce their risk, including eating a varied diet—rich in wholegrains, vegetables, fruit, and beans—which supports the findings from this study.

The potential protective health benefits of vitamin B9 are demonstrated in this large study.

The study also found some promising findings about how folate might be influencing cancer risk, including different genes, but these need further exploration.”

Vitamin B9

Dietary folate is the natural form and folic acid supplementation is the synthetic form of vitamin B9.

Humans cannot make vitamin B9 therefore it is essential to obtain it from the diet or supplementation.

The recommended daily amount for vitamin B9 is an intake of 400 micrograms (μg) per day.

Lentils, peanuts, sunflower seeds, soybeans, oranges, and leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, spinach, and brussels sprouts are considered folate-rich foods.

Decrease disease risk

Bowel cancer is the third most common world-wide: over 153,000 US adults were diagnosed with it in 2023.

This research analysed data from 70,000 adults to find out whether genetic variation has any effect on folate metabolism in regard to bowel cancer.

Vitamin B9 is vital for the body to make DNA, RNA, and red blood cells.

It is also important that women who are trying to get pregnant or are in their first 3 months of pregnancy take 400 μg folic acid daily.

The nutrient plays a crucial role in the development of the baby’s brain and spine.

Dr Helen Croker, a dietitian at World Cancer Research Fund, commenting on this study said:

“Interestingly, in this study, the protective effects were seen at usual dietary intakes of folate, further indicating the importance of folate-rich foods as part of a healthy, balanced diet as well as being physically active.”

Mr Matt Lambert, a nutritionist at World Cancer Research Fund, said:

“This study adds to what we’ve been saying for years—that a healthy diet based around vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and pulses can help reduce cancer risk.

Folate, which is found in a variety of foods, including leafy green vegetables like spinach and broccoli, has not only been linked to a reduced bowel cancer risk but also supports our overall health if eaten regularly.”


The study was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Bouras et al., 2023).

The Popular Weight Loss Drug That Also Fight Cancer

A popular drug that treats obesity may also help to destroy cancer cells.

A popular drug that treats obesity may also help to destroy cancer cells.

Glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1) drugs such as Ozempic are best known for their weight loss effect and their capability of keeping blood sugar levels under control in people with type 2 diabetes.

Semaglutide, which is sold under the brand name Ozempic, is an anti-diabetic medication, but the medicine appears to have a notable weight loss effect when combined with intensive behavioural therapy (IBT) and a low-calorie diet.

A 68 week weight loss trial found that injection of 2.4 mg of semaglutide per week along with a low-calorie diet for the first 8 weeks and 30 sessions of IBT led to obese patients losing 16 percent of their weight.

Semaglutide can take over the regulating appetite system by mirroring the incretin hormone known as GLP-1 which reduces appetite and hunger.

Restoring cancer-killing cells

Past research has found that obese people are at a greater risk of developing cancer due to their weakened natural killer (NK) cells.

NK cells are part of the immune system with anticancer properties, but obesity reduces their ability of producing cytokines and killing cancer cells.

A study reveals that GLP-1 drugs can also rebuild the NK cells functionality and their capacity to target cancer cells in obese people.

It is estimated that over 1 billion people worldwide are obese, a major contributor to chronic diseases such type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

In addition, immune dysregulation in obese people is associated with severe outcomes following infections such as SARS-CoV-2 and influenza.

The research team wanted to know if GLP-1 analogue therapy would help restoration of NK cell function in humans as well as improving the metabolism.

For six months, 20 obese adults received semaglutide treatment once a week (the dosage was gradually increased up to 1 mg).

The results showed that the improvements in the cancer-killing effect of NK cells is independent of weight loss so it can be a useful drug for immunotherapy against cancer.

Mr Conor de Barra the study’s first author, said:

“People with obesity can develop a variety of health problems like type 2 diabetes, sleep apnoea and cancer.

These can have very negative impacts on their quality of life.

This research and other promising findings on improvements in cardiovascular health after GLP-1 therapy indicate its potential benefits in addition to weight-loss.”

Professor Donal O’Shea, study co-author, said:

“We are finally reaching the point where medical treatments for the disease of obesity are being shown to prevent the complications of having obesity.

The current findings represent very positive news for people living with obesity on GLP-1 therapy and suggest the benefits of this family of treatments may extend to a reduction in cancer risk.”

The study was published in the journal Obesity (De Barra et al., 2023).

The Dietary Habit That Prevents Prostate Cancer And Speeds Recovery

The nutrients that may halt one of the deadliest cancers in men and speed up their recovery after radiotherapy.

The nutrients that may halt one of the deadliest cancers in men and speed up their recovery after radiotherapy.

Foods rich in certain micronutrients along with colourful fruits and vegetables may fend off prostate cancer and minimise the damaging effects of radiotherapy.

Scientists from the University of South Australia reveal that prostate cancer patients are more likely to have low blood levels of selenium, lutein, lycopene, alpha-carotene, and beta-carotene.

They found that men with low levels of these micronutrients are at twice the risk of prostate cancer.

In contrast, higher blood levels of iron, sulphur, and calcium doubled the risk, a result of the Western diet which is deficient in plant foods and rich in meat.

Nearly 50 percent of prostate cancer patients undergo radiation therapy, increased DNA damage was linked to selenium and lycopene deficiency.

A diet rich in green leafy vegetables and colourful fruits containing carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene, alpha-carotene, and beta-carotene) provides many health benefits such as reduced cancer and heart disease risks.

Examples of carotenoid-rich foods are kale, spinach, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squash, tomatoes, papayas, grapes, melons, and peaches.

Foods rich in selenium include brazil nuts, cashew nuts, eggs, pumpkin seeds, tuna, sardines, prawns, baked beans, and brown rice.

Dr Permal Deo, study co-author hinted that the best way to obtain selenium and lycopene from foods is from natural sources as opposed to supplements:

“Our recommendation is to adopt a Mediterranean diet enlisting the help of a dietician because people absorb nutrients in different ways, depending on the food, the digestive system, the person’s genotype and possibly their microbiome.”

The research found that prostate cancer risk was increased among men with lycopene levels lower than 0.25 micrograms per millilitre and selenium levels lower than 120 microgram per litre, also they were more vulnerable to radiotherapy.

Prostate cancer is one of the deadliest cancers in men but until now the impact of nutritional deficiencies on this disease have not been thoroughly investigated.

Dr Deo added:

“There is strong evidence that being overweight and tall increases the risk of prostate cancer.

Diets high in dairy products and low in vitamin E may also increase the risk but the evidence is less clear.”

Wheat germ oil, sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, avocado, Swiss chard, mango, kiwifruit, salmon, and eggs are amongst those foods high in vitamin E.

The studies were published in the journal Cancers (Dhillon et al., 2023; Dhillon et al., 2023).

These Popular Drinks Double Risk Of Colorectal Cancer

The popular drinks linked to 100% increase in colorectal cancer risk in adults before the age of 50.

The popular drinks linked to 100% increase in colorectal cancer risk in adults before the age of 50.

Although cancer is among the leading causes of death, only 5 to 10 percent of all cancers are hereditary.

This means that aging and lifestyle factors such as poor diet, smoking, drinking, air pollution and physical inactivity are largely to blame for cancer.

Sugary drinks — also called sugar-sweetened beverages — have become more and more popular in the UK and the US, hence, putting more people at risk of developing cancer.

According to a study, having two or more sugary drinks a day doubles the odds for bowel cancer in adults before reaching age 50.

With each daily serving the cancer risk increases by 16 percent in women and 32 percent in teens.

In recent years, there has been a sharp increase in bowel cancer (colorectal cancer) cases before the age of 50, especially in high-income countries.

Colon cancer risk is doubling for Americans born in the 1990s and those born in the 1950s are four times more likely to develop rectal cancer.

Sports and energy drinks, fruit flavoured drinks and soft drinks are the largest source of added sugars in American diets.

More than one-in-ten people drink over three servings (8 fl oz each) every day.

High consumption of sugary drinks is associated with heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, kidney dysfunction, liver disease and  bowel cancer.

To examine the link between sugary drinks and bowel cancer, researchers used information from 95,464 US female participants in the Nurses’ Health Study II.

Over 24 years, participants’ food and drink consumption was monitored by using a food frequency questionnaire every four years.

The results suggest that those female who developed bowel cancer before the age of 50 consumed more sugar-sweetened drinks.

Women who had two or more sugary drinks a day were twice as likely to get bowel cancer than those who had one serving weekly or none at all.

With each extra drink, the risk was increased by 16 percent and for those with drinking habits in their teens, the figure jumped to 32 percent.

The authors think that sugar-sweetened drinks lower the sense of feeling full and satisfied because they cause a sudden rush in blood sugar and insulin production.

This in turn makes people drink more, leading to high calorie intake and insulin resistance — then comes weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, inflammation, and bowel cancer.

Evidence also show that sugary drinks, due to their high fructose level, reduce gut barrier function leading to leaky gut syndrome and possibly cancer.

The authors concluded:

“[Sugar-sweetened beverage] consumption may contribute to the rising incidence of [early onset bowel cancer].

Reducing intake and/or [substitution] with other healthier beverages among adolescents and young adults may serve as a potential actionable strategy to alleviate the growing burden of bowel cancer before the age of 50.”

The study was published in the journal Gut (Murphy et al., 2021).

Cancer: The Popular Vitamin Linked To 91% Higher Risk Of Disease

These supplements found to increase cancer risk at doses above recommended daily intake.

These supplements found to increase cancer risk at doses above recommended daily intake.

Selenium and vitamin E supplementation may increase the risk of prostate cancer (PCa) in men, a study has found.

Men who are not deficient in selenium or vitamin E should avoid taking these supplements as doses above the recommended dietary intakes could increase the risk of the disease.

In 2001, the US National Cancer Institute initiated the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT), which tested whether selenium, vitamin E, or both could reduce prostate cancer in over 35,000 men.

They received 200 μg selenium (L-selenomethionine) alone or in combination with 400 IU vitamin E (all-rac-α-tocopheryl acetate) each day.

However, the supplementation was stopped as interim analyses three years before trial end date showed very little benefit and also that vitamin E was linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer.

Dr Alan Kristal and colleagues investigated the impact of selenium and vitamin E supplementation on prostate cancer risk using SELECT data.

Selenium and vitamin E  levels were assessed from toenail selenium concentration and blood samples.

There was no increase risk of cancer where participants didn’t receive these supplements.

However, vitamin E supplementation increased the disease odds by 63 percent among those who were low in selenium.

Selenium supplementation with or without vitamin E increased the risk of high-grade prostate cancer by 91 percent among men with higher selenium status.

The authors concluded:

“Selenium supplementation did not benefit men with low selenium status but increased the risk of high-grade PCa among men with high selenium status.

Vitamin E increased the risk of PCa among men with low selenium status.

Men should avoid selenium or vitamin E supplementation at doses that exceed recommended dietary intakes.”

The study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (Kristal et al., 2014).

Cancer: The Popular Vitamin That Triples Risk Of Lung Disease

These popular vitamin supplements can increase the risk of developing lung cancer almost four times.

These popular vitamin supplements can increase the risk of developing lung cancer almost four times.

Taking high doses of B vitamins for a long period of time can increase the odds of developing lung cancer by 200 or even 300 percent.

B vitamins are one of the most popular dietary supplements sold over-the-counter.

B6 and B12 vitamins are essential nutrients which play important roles in lowering stress and anxiety, energy production, and cognitive function.

However, a study found that high intake of B6 was associated with a tripling and B12 with a four-fold increased risk of lung cancer in men (especially smokers).

The tripling and four times increased risk was found in male smokers consuming 20 milligrams of B6 or 55 micrograms of B12 every day over 10 years.

The common assumption is that B6 and b12 supplements help lower the risk of cancer so a research team assessed the impact of high B6 and B12 intake over a long period on lung cancer.

They analysed data from 77,118 patients in the Vitamins and Lifestyle (VITAL) study, research designed to look at effects of supplements on cancer.

The study adjusted for a number of influencing factors such as age, education, smoking, race, drugs, alcohol consumption, body weight, and family history of cancer.

Dr Theodore Brasky, the study’s first author, said:

“This sets all of these other influencing factors as equal, so we are left with a less confounded effect of long-term B6 and B12 super-supplementation.

Our data shows that taking high doses of B6 and B12 over a very long period of time could contribute to lung cancer incidence rates in male smokers.

This is certainly a concern worthy of further evaluation.”

The doses are way above the recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals.

Dr Brasky noted:

“These are doses that can only be obtained from taking high-dose B vitamin supplements, and these supplements are many times the U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance.”

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (Brasky et al., 2017).

The Common Drink Linked To Cancer, Researchers Say

Even light consumption of this common drink could increase the risk of cancer.

Even light consumption of this common drink could increase the risk of cancer.

Casual to moderate consumption of alcoholic drinks is linked to higher cancer risk, a study has found.

A few studies have suggested that limited alcohol intake would lower risks of some types of cancer.

But, even light or modest drinking can increase the risk for overall cancer incidence.

One drink a day for 10 years or two drinks a day for five years would elevate the risk of any cancer by 5 percent.

Light to moderate levels of lifetime drinking alcoholic beverages would most likely increase the risk of liver, breast, oesophagus, stomach, colon, and prostate cancers.

Studies have suggested that ethanol in drinks is mainly responsible for cancer risk and the type of alcoholic drink makes no difference.

When ethanol is broken down in the body, it produces acetaldehyde, which is a carcinogen.

Alcohol increases the risk of breast and prostate cancers by raising the levels of oestrogen and androgen hormones in the body.

The conclusions come from Japanese researchers who examined the drinking habits of 63,232 cancer patients for over 40 years.

They recorded the average amount of alcohol consumption per day and the years of drinking for all participants.

A drink per day was equivalent of 2 ounces of whiskey (1 1/2 ounces is one average shot), 6 ounces of wine (180 ml, an average glass of wine) and 17 ounces of beer (500 ml, nearly a pint).

The risk of having any cancer increased based on how long they had consumed alcohol but was lowest when drinking no alcohol.

Dr Masayoshi Zaitsu, the study’s first author, said:

“In Japan, the primary cause of death is cancer.

Given the current burden of overall cancer incidence, we should further encourage promoting public education about alcohol-related cancer risk.”

The study was published in the journal of Cancer (Zaitsu et al., 2019).

Get free email updates

Join the free PsyBlog mailing list. No spam, ever.