Study ties vitamins to lung cancer

High vitamin B intake increases lung cancer risk among men

One will try to see whether there are similar effects in post-menopausal women.

But a new study now says the exact opposite might be true.

Male smokers taking 20 milligrams of vitamin B-6 per day for 10 years were three times more likely to go on to develop lung cancer, while male smokers taking 55 micrograms of vitamin B-12 per day for 10 years were around four times more likely to develop the disease. The second will examine B6/B12 high dose, long-term supplementation in a second large prospective study of men in an effort to determine whether the increases risk observed in the current study can be replicated.

"That's marketing. That's not science", he said. They were 89 percent more likely to get lung cancer than those who didn't take B12.

A new study has shown that taking high-dose vitamin B supplements over a long period is associated with an increased risk of lung cancer among men. But the effect seemed to be driven by current smokers who far exceeded the recommended daily amounts of the vitamins, according to study author Theodore Brasky, an epidemiologist in the division of cancer prevention and control at the Ohio State University College of Medicine. Those who smoke and take high-dose B vitamins should consider cutting back to doses closer to the US RDA (i.e., from a multivitamin) or getting their nutrients from diet.

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Editors note: This article has been corrected to reflect that lung cancer risk almost tripled and quadrupled in men who were current smokers and taking B6 and B12 at the highest levels compared to male smokers who did not take B6 or B12 supplements. And that's likely just because multivitamins generally don't contain high enough dosages of B6 and B12 to pose a risk. But many high-dose supplements, he said, claim to boost energy and provide other unproven benefits.

However, the differences in lung cancer risk between the highest and lowest categories of supplementation use appeared considerably greater among current smokers than recent smokers - defined as those who quit less than 10 years prior - or former smokers, defined as those who quit 10 or more years prior.

The study involved around 77,000 adults in Washington state ages 50 to 76, including 139 cases of lung cancer among 3,200 male smokers.

He went on to explain that the "use of combustible tobacco is a far more important factor in lung cancer development in both men and women".

Important note: Because this was an observational study, it can't prove for sure that these vitamin B supplements actually caused lung cancer. He pointed out, "When we're talking about what to be concerned about most: If you're a male smoker and you want to take B vitamins, you can stop smoking".

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