Don’t throw out your multivitamins yet!
The use of a daily multivitamin came under attack after the results of a research study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine last year. This study showed an increase risk of death of those who took a daily multivitamin. The increased cancer death may have been related to the increased amount of iron or calcium.
A recent study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in the incidence of total cancer in men who used a common multivitamin for an average of 11.2 years. This was a randomized double blinded placebo controlled trial of over 14,000 male physicians who were followed over 11 years. While there was a decrease in total cancer, there was no specific effect on prostate, colorectal, or site-specific cancer or cancer mortality.
These results may not apply to women, but they are optimistic with regards to the use of a daily multivitamin. The authors of the study recommend not using a multivitamin that contains more than 100% of the recommended RDA of nutrients. More studies will be needed to review different vitamins, minerals, and supplements as they relate to cancer prevention.