Folate, Alcohol & Breast Cancer Risk

Women who consume 40 grams of alcohol (about three drinks) per day have a higher risk of breast cancer than do women who abstain from alcohol.

However, in women who take 200 micrograms of folate or folic acid (Vitamin B9) every day, the risk of breast cancer drops below that of alcohol abstainers.

That was the finding of a study of over 17,000 Australian women aged 40-69 over a period of about ten years. These results are consistent with earlier studies.

An exhaustive review of the research evidence has found that women who drink alcohol and have a high folate intake are not at increased risk of breast cancer compared to those who abstain from alcohol.

Foods rich in folate include citrus fruits, citrus juices, dark green leafy vegetables, dried beans, and peas.

The study was published in the British Medical Journal.


  • Baglietto, Laura, et al. Does dietary folate intake modify effect of alcohol consumption on breast cancer risk? Prospective cohort study. British Medical Journal, August 8, 2005.

filed under: Health