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Vegetables, Vitamin B, and Mouth Cancer

Women who consume high volumes of folic acid found in vitamin B are less likely to suffer from mouth cancer. A study was started in 1976 by researchers from the Columbia University Medical Centre and Harvard School of Public Health. The researchers followed 87,000 nurses for 30 years to record their diets. Women who drank a high volume of alcohol and had low folic acid intake were 3 times more likely to develop mouth cancer than those women who drank high volumes of alcohol but had high volumes of folic acid in their diet.
Alcohol is one of the major risk factors for mouth cancer and those who drink to excess are 4 times more likely to be diagnosed. This is the first time that folic acid intake has been shown to affect the risk of the disease. Alcohol leads to a reduction in folic acid metabolism by creating acetaldehyde, which leads to a reduction of folic acid in the body. Folic acid, or vitamin B9, is essential to an individual’s health by helping to make and maintain new cells. Folic acid is found in vegetables; added to bread; and fruit juices, broccoli, and brussel sprouts contain smaller amounts. An unhealthy diet has been linked with about a third of mouth cancer cases. Recent research has also shown that an increase in foods that cotain omega 3 and foods high in fiber (ie, nuts, seeds, brown rice) can help decrease the risks.

(Source: British Dental Health Foundation, November 16, 2010)

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