What is folic acid used for relating to HPV?

by Rachel on August 8, 2011

Is it used to prevent cervical cancer? Or is it an at-home treatment for HPV?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

ndtaya August 8, 2011 at 4:23 am

Ok, I guess it helps avoid HPV becoming cervical cancer or other cancers.

Some evidence associates low blood levels of folate with a greater risk of cancer.[25] Folate is involved in the synthesis, repair, and functioning of DNA, our genetic map, and a deficiency of folate may result in damage to DNA that may lead to cancer.[26] Several studies have associated diets low in folate with increased risk of breast, pancreatic, and colon cancer.[27] Findings from a study of over 121,000 nurses suggested that long-term folic acid supplementation (for 15 years) was associated with a decreased risk of colon cancer in women 55 to 69 years of age.[28]

“Folate intake counteracts breast cancer risk associated with alcohol consumption” [29] and “women who drink alcohol and have a high folate intake are not at increased risk of cancer” [30]. Those who have a high (200 micrograms or more per day) level of folate (folic acid or Vitamin B9) in their diet are not at increased risk of breast cancer compared to those who abstain from alcohol [31].

However, associations between diet and disease do not indicate a direct cause. Researchers are continuing to investigate whether enhanced folate intake from foods or folic acid supplements may reduce the risk of cancer. Until results from such clinical trials are available, folic acid supplements should not be recommended to reduce the risk of cancer.

smartypants909 August 8, 2011 at 5:21 am

I don’t know about HPV, but my husband is on chemotherapy, and chemotherapy depletes the body’s store of folic acid, which is essential for proper organ function and other things, so he must take folic acid daily to replace what the chemotherapy depletes.

swoop August 8, 2011 at 5:46 am

Folic acid is needed by the mother to prevent neural-tube defects in the fetus. I am not aware of its use related to HPV, warts or cervical cancer.

There is a new vaccine coming out that will give lifetime immunity against HPV (human papiloma virus).

mockingbird August 8, 2011 at 6:19 am

Dr. Andrew Weil recommends both folic acid and beta carotene as a measure to reverse cervical dysplasia (or at least prevent it from advancing.) I followed his dosing recommendations when I had CIN 1 dysplasia and it cleared on its own, which may or may not have anything at all to do with the supplements. I’m not sure what the mechanism is thought to be, though (beta carotene is an anti-oxidant so that’s the thinking there… don’t know about folic acid.)

Edit to add: after reading the first answer, it would seem that folic acid would help reverse dysplasia by ensuring that DNA replication and cell division happen properly (so abnormal cells aren’t formed.)

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