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Ein Vitamin mit zwei Gesichtern

Folsäure – Prävention oder Promotion von Dickdarmkrebs?
  • Anke WeißenbornEmail author
  • Anke Ehlers
  • Karen-I. Hirsch-Ernst
  • Alfonso Lampen
  • Birgit Niemann
Leitthema
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Zusammenfassung

In den 1930er-Jahren wurde beobachtet, dass bestimmte Formen der megaloblastischen Anämie in der Schwangerschaft mit Leber- und Hefeextrakten behandelt werden können. Der dafür verantwortliche Faktor wurde in den 1940er-Jahren aus Spinatblättern isoliert und in Anlehnung an das lateinische Wort für Blatt (folium) als Folat bezeichnet. Folat ist für den Menschen ein essenzieller Nährstoff. Die synthetische Form des Vitamins – Folsäure – wird in Nahrungsergänzungsmitteln, Arzneimitteln und angereicherten Lebensmitteln verwendet. Der gezielte Einsatz von Folsäure begann in den 1980er-Jahren, nachdem in einer Reihe von Studien beobachtet worden war, dass durch Folsäureeinnahmen vor und in der Schwangerschaft das Risiko für Neuralrohrdefekte (NRD) verringert werden kann. In der Folge wurden weltweit Empfehlungen zur perikonzeptionellen Folsäuresupplementierung gegeben und in vielen Ländern Anreicherungsprogramme gestartet. Die so erzielten Steigerungen der Folsäureaufnahme waren mit signifikanten Rückgängen der NRD-Raten verbunden. Jedoch wurde parallel dazu in den USA und Kanada ein – vorübergehender – Anstieg von Kolorektalkrebserkrankungen beobachtet. Aus tierexperimentellen und Humanstudiendaten lässt sich mittlerweile ein komplexer Zusammenhang zwischen Folat/Folsäure und Krebs ableiten: So sind Folataufnahmen in Höhe der Zufuhrempfehlungen bei gesunden Menschen im Allgemeinen mit einem geringeren Risiko für Krebserkrankungen verbunden, während unter bestimmten Bedingungen hohe Aufnahmen von Folsäure das Risiko für die Entstehung oder Progression von Krebs erhöhen können. Da Nahrungsfolat nicht mit unerwünschten Effekten assoziiert ist, steht Folsäure im Mittelpunkt des Forschungsinteresses zur Aufklärung der Ursachen für den beobachteten Zusammenhang.

Schlüsselwörter

Folsäure Folat Kolorektalkrebs Methylierung Nukleotidsynthese 

A two-faced vitamin

Folic acid – prevention or promotion of colon cancer?

Abstract

In the late 1930s, it was discovered that liver and yeast extracts can be used to correct certain cases of megaloblastic anemia in pregnancy. The factor responsible for this was isolated from spinach leaves in the 1940s, and referred to as folate, a term derived from the Latin word folium for leaf. Folate is considered an essential nutrient for human beings. Folic acid, the synthetic form of the vitamin, is used in dietary supplements, medicines and fortified foods. Since the 1980s, it has been recommended that women who plan to become pregnant and pregnant women during the first trimester of pregnancy take folic acid supplements. This recommendation was based on studies that revealed that periconceptional folic acid supplementation can reduce the risk for neural tube defects (NTDs). Many countries later implemented folic acid fortification programs. The resulting population-wide increase of folic acid intakes led to significant reductions in NTD rates. However, a temporarily increased colorectal cancer incidence has been reported to coincide with the fortification programs in the USA and Canada. On the basis of currently available data from experimental and human studies it can be concluded that the association between folate/folic acid and cancer is rather complex: Folate intake in the range of the dietary reference intake (DRI) is associated with a reduced risk for cancer in healthy populations, whereas high intakes of folic acid might result in an increased risk for cancer incidence or progression in persons with precancerous lesions and under certain conditions. Since no adverse effects have been observed in association with the intake of dietary folate, research activities that aim at investigating cause and effect relationships focus on folic acid.

Keywords

Folic acid Folate Colorectal cancer Methylation Nucleotide synthesis 

Notes

Einhaltung ethischer Richtlinien

Interessenkonflikt

A. Weißenborn, A. Ehlers, K.-I. Hirsch-Ernst, A. Lampen und B. Niemann geben an, dass kein Interessenkonflikt besteht.

Dieser Beitrag beinhaltet keine von den Autoren durchgeführten Studien an Menschen oder Tieren.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anke Weißenborn
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anke Ehlers
    • 1
  • Karen-I. Hirsch-Ernst
    • 1
  • Alfonso Lampen
    • 1
  • Birgit Niemann
    • 1
  1. 1.Abt. LebensmittelsicherheitBundesinstitut für RisikobewertungBerlinDeutschland

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