Alcohol Causes Cancer, Vitamin B Prevents It

June 28, 2004

Studies show that the risk of intestinal cancer is increased by 30% in people who have more than 2 drinks a day. However, this risk seems to be completely neutralized by vitamin B9, aka. folic acid.

Cancer of the colon is among the most frequent kind of cancer and furthermore among the deadliest. Several studies have in later years shown that the risk of colon cancer is increased by alcohol intake. This is once again outlined in the partial result of a population study in which five countries participate involving approx. 490,000 men and women.

The recently published results show that the risk of intestinal cancer is increased by approx. 30% in people who have more than two drinks a day; without regard to the drink being wine, beer, or any other kind of alcohol. However, this risk seems to be completely neutralized by the B vitamin folic acid.

A connection between alcohol and breast cancer in women has also been established but also in this case, folic acid seems to have a protective effect.

The same thing applies for ovarian cancer. In March, a Swedish study of this subject was published: Among more than 66,000 women, the incidence of ovarian cancer was reduced by more than 75% in the ones who were given the most folic acid – regardless of them having more than two drinks a day.

Folic acid is a vitamin B which can be found in large amounts in greens and in liver. It is mostly known for its ability to prevent myelomeningocele in newborns – the most common of all serious congenital malformations.

The incidence of myelomeningocele has decreased in the USA after obligatory enrichment of flour with this vitamin was introduced in 1996. Folic acid deficiency is regarded as a very common suffering. A daily supplement of 400 mcg. is considered an appropriate amount for preventive measures.

By: Vitality Council


1. Larsson SC, Giovannucci E, Wolk A. Dietary folate intake and incidence of ovarian cancer: The Swedish Mammography Cohort. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2004 Mar 3;96(5):396-402.
2. Eunyoung Cho et al. Alcohol Intake and Colorectal Cancer: A Pooled Analysis of 8 Cohort Studies. Annals of Internal Medicine 2004;140:603-613.
3. Giovannucci E et al. Alcohol, low-methionine-low-folate diets, and risk of colon cancer in men. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1995 Feb 15;87(4):265-73.