The efficacy and use of multivitamins as supplements in cancer patients, has always been disputed. However, a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, finds that regular multivitamin supplements can provide cancer protection in middle-aged men.
The study results were a surprise since previous studies with individual vitamins have always found to not provide any kind of help in preventing chronic diseases.
The new study showed 8% decrease of developing cancer when multivitamins were taken regularly. Now, this rate is definitely not very high or better than good diet, exercise, and not smoking, lowering cancer risk by 20 to 30%.
Dr. Ernest Hawk, vice president of cancer prevention at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, is quoted in Time.com,
It’s a very mild effect and personally I’m not sure it’s significant enough to recommend to anyone although it is promising. At least this doesn’t suggest a harm as some previous studies on single vitamins have.
This is the first rigorous, long term study of multivitamins and effect on cancer.
- 14,641 male US physicians aged 50 and over participated in the study
- Participants were randomly given a multivitamin, Centrum Silver, or a placebo
- The study was double blinded with neither the scientists nor doctors (participants) being aware of their status
- 2/3 of participants exercised regularly
- 4% were smokers
- Mean age of participants was 64 yrs
- 9% of participants had history of cancer
Lead author of the study, Dr. J. Michael Gaziano, and chief of Division of Aging at Brigham and Women’s Hospital says,
It appears that there may be a modest benefit in preventing cancer in men over the age of 50.
Multivitamins are taken by thousands of people across the globe and about 1/3 of US adults are regular consumers of multivitamins. This study certainly does not prove that vitamins are the antidote to cancer or that they can prevent cancer. A well balanced diet can have the same effect as that of multivitamins in keeping cancer at bay!
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