Daily Multivitamins Offer Reduced Risk Of Cancer In Men
October 17, 2012

Daily Multivitamins Offer Reduced Risk Of Cancer In Men

Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

We all know that taking our daily vitamins help us maintain a healthy lifestyle. But did you known that men who take a daily multivitamin can help reduce their risk of cancer? According to new research from Brigham and Women´s Hospital (BWH), men who use a daily multivitamin over a long period have a modest, yet significant, reduction in cancer after more than a decade of treatment and follow-up.

The findings are based on a trial including nearly 15,000 male physicians who took long-term daily multivitamins. The study has been published online early in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) to coincide with its presentation at the Annual American Association for Cancer Research Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research meeting.

“The Physicians' Health Study II is the first clinical trial to test the affects of multivitamins on a major disease such as cancer,” lead author J. Michael Gaziano, MD, chief of the Division of Aging at BWH and an investigator at VA Boston, said in a press release. “Despite the fact that more than one-third of Americans take multivitamins, their long-term effects were unknown until now.”

In the trial, men over the age of 50 were instructed to take either a multivitamin or a placebo every day for more than ten years. During the course of the study, the researchers relied on self reporting of cancer diagnoses, after which each diagnosis was confirmed through medical records. The researchers found the group taking the daily multivitamin had an 8 percent reduction in total cancer compared with the placebo group. They also found multivitamin use was associated with a moderate reduction in cancer deaths.

“Many studies have suggested that eating a nutritious diet may reduce a man's risk of developing cancer. Now we know that taking a daily multivitamin, in addition to addressing vitamin and mineral deficiencies, may also be considered in the prevention of cancer in middle-aged and older men,” said study coauthor Howard D. Sesso, ScD, an associate epidemiologist in the Division of Preventive Medicine at BWH.

Researchers said it remains unclear which specific vitamins or groups of vitamins contribute to the results seen. Also, it is not known if the results can extend to women or to men younger than age 50, they noted. Follow-up studies are planned to see if daily multivitamin use reduces the risk of cancer over an even longer period of time.

“Although the main reason to take multivitamins is to prevent nutritional deficiency, these data provide support for the potential use of multivitamin supplements in the prevention of cancer in middle-aged and older men,” the researchers conclude.