Multivitamins and Cancer

A previous article discussed the surprising research that tied supplement use to increased mortality in older women. Science rarely follows a straight line, so it shouldn't be too surprising the new research shows that multivitamins may help to prevent cancer in men. Here are the details.

More than 50% of adults in the U.S. take dietary supplements. This is a triumph of modern marketing, since research has shown little positive impact, and some negative impact, of these supplements. New research published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) breaks this trend.

Dr. Gaziano, of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the VA Boston Healthcare System, led this 13 year study. More than 14,000 men participated, divided into two groups, one receiving Centrum Silver vitamins the other group receiving a placebo. The participants were all over 50 years old and in particularly good health when they started the research; good body weight, healthy habits, with very few smokers. This was, to some degree, because all of the participants were doctors who knew the positive long-term benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

After following the participants’ health over a 10-13 year period, they found a statistically significant result. The people taking the vitamins had a 8-12 percent lower occurrence of cancer, compared to the group taking a placebo. If prostate cancer was not included, cancer diagnoses were 12 percent lower among participants taking vitamins. Including prostate cancer dropped the benefit to 8 percent. This is consistent with another study that tied vitamin E use to increased risk of prostate cancer by as much as 17 percent. Centrum Silver contains vitamin E.

So what should you do? In most cases, we can get all of the nutrition our bodies need by eating a balanced diet. If lifestyle, food allergies or religious beliefs restrict your diet, you should discuss a targeted supplement with your doctor. This is an area that continues to enjoy rigorous medical study, so more will be known in the coming years that might encourage us to pop that daily Centrum.

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