Vitamins do not Prevent Cancer

Medical science is always the hot bed of debate, findings and counter-findings. Till recently, research came up with the happy news that vitamin supplement s help prevent or at least benefit incidents of cancer. But more recent findings are humming a different note in saying that this may not altogether be true.

Between 1992 and 2004, researchers with the Women’s Health Study (WHS) enrolled over 39,000 women health professionals at least 45 years of age; the mean age at the start of the trial was about 54 years. The goal of the study was to investigate the protective effects of low-dose aspirin (100 mg), vitamin E, and beta-carotene on cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Women were randomly assigned to receive aspirin, vitamin E, both, or placebos. During the trial, 2,865 women in the vitamin E part of the study developed invasive cancer; that is, cancer that spread beyond the layer of tissue in which it first developed. Of those, 1,437 were in the vitamin E group and 1,428 were in the placebo group. The findings demonstrate no significant difference in cancer rates.

The long term use of multivitamins does not reduce the risk of developing lung cancer. On the contrary, high doses of Vitamin E may even heighten risks particularly in smokers, says Christopher G. Slatore, MD, from the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, and colleagues. They report the new findings in the March 1 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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