While multivitamins are the most common dietary supplement, studies have failed to find that they are truly beneficial.But, a new study published Oct. 17 in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that men taking daily multivitamins reduce their risk of getting cancer.
Participants of this study included 14,641 male physicians 50 or older. They were randomly placed into one of two groups, where one group took daily multivitamins and the other a placebo. The participants were followed for an average of 11.2 years, and 2,669 of the men were diagnosed with cancer during the study.
When examining the difference between the two groups a small, but statistically significant eight per cent reduction in total cancer was seen among the the men assigned to the multivitamin group.
The effect is small though, and there are many other ways to avoid cancers: “It would be a big mistake for people to go out and take a multivitamin instead of quitting smoking or doing other things that we have a higher suspicion play a bigger role, like eating a good diet and getting exercise,” study researcher Michael Gaziano, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, told the New York Times. “You’ve got to keep wearing your sunscreen.”
In fact, the National Institute of Health, and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans by the US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health and Human Services has previously determined there is not enough evidence to suggest taking a multivitamin to prevent any type of disease.
If the findings of the new study hold true, they could lead to revisions of these policies.
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