Nov 9, 2012

Daily Intake of Multivitamin Pills Linked to Cancer Risk Reduction


fruits and pills

Another reader has just sent me a press release which I think might prove interesting to you guys. A certain Ms. Tammi Reyes, who represents DSM (a private company which manufactures pre-mixed multivitamin supplements) sent me one of the breaking health news which hit last week.
(Disclaimer: I am not paid to promote DSM. I do not know the company and I have not tried any of its products. I’m just mentioning DSM because it is the source of the press release which is my basis for this article.)
A study, recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, shows that a daily intake of a supplement of vitamins and minerals can help prevent cancer. Daily intake of multivitamins also reduced overall cancer rates by 8%.
The study was double-blind, which meant that both the researchers and thesubjects were “blind” to some sensitive data. The subjects were not informed what they were taking (that is, they did not know whether what they are taking is supplement or placebo). The researchers were also blind as to who among the subjects were taking the placebo and the supplements. In the world of research, a double-blind study is good at eliminating bias.
The research is one of the largest and longest studies ever, with 14,600 male physicians involved and spanned a follow-up period of 11.2 years. The study was a double-blind, placebo-controlled and randomized trial undertaken by a partnership of two research groups – one from Harvard Medical School and another research team from Brigham and Women’s hospital. Results of the study show that daily intake of a supplement containing vitamins and minerals is linked to a reduction in cancer risk. The cancer risk reduction varied with the type of cancer involved.
This finding is not surprising since we know that at the heart of cancer development is the proliferation of aberrant cells which have gone haywire because the body does not have enough antioxidants to take care of free radicals. And some of the most powerful antioxidants are actually vitamins and minerals, notably the Vitamins A, C and E and the mineral zinc. Deficiency in vitamins and minerals equals deficiency in antioxidants, and deficiency in antioxidants sets the stage for cancer formation.
Although fresh fruits and vegetables are undoubtedly the best sources of vitamins and minerals, the sad truth is that time constraints due to a demanding job, failing health, a major stressor (pregnancy, sleeplessness, etc) or just life’s daily grind, robs us of the time and energy to prepare nutritious dishes consistently, or on a daily basis.
Personally, I believe popping a pill containing vitamins and minerals helps to fill in the gaps left by a less-than-ideal diet. During pregnancy and breastfeeding, I take in multivitamins with iron and folate. When my kids have a minor infection such as a cough, colds or skin infections, I add a zinc and vitamin C supplement on top of their daily multivitamins. Yet I do not rely heavily on multivitamin pills for good health. A balanced and healthy diet is still the best source of vitamins and minerals and is the real foundation for health.

Photo Credit: eatrightontario.ca

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