Broccoli helps prevent pancreatic cancer – Swedish study

Beans and green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach which are high in folic acid help prevent pancreatic cancer but vitamin supplements do not help, a Swedish study published this week showed.

People who eat foods containing 350 micrograms of folic acid per day have a 75 percent lower risk of developing pancreatic cancer than those who ingest less than 200 micrograms, showed the study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

“Those who ate the most folic acid ran the lowest risk,” researcher Susanna Larsson, a nutritional epidemiologist at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute who led the study, told AFP.

To ingest 350 micrograms of folic acid, a person would need to eat about four portions of broccoli, she said, noting that an average Swede would normally eat around 200 micrograms per day.

Her team studied the food intakes of 82,000 Swedes from 1997 until 2004 to determine their intake of folic acid. Of the participants, 135 people developed pancreatic cancer during the seven-year study.

The research showed that those who ate vitamin supplements containing folic acid did not experience the same benefits as those who received folic acid from vegetables.

“There was no link with vitamins containing folic acid,” Larsson said, suggesting that folic acid may somehow be different in its vitamin form than in its natural form.