B vitamins no help for cancer prevention: study

Prevention — By on November 11, 2008 at 6:41 am

CBC News – Vitamin B supplements have no effect in preventing cancer in women, a U.S. study suggests.

In Wednesday’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Shumin Zhang of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston and her colleagues studied 5,442 U.S. female health professionals with an average age of 63.

“This study shows that supplementation with the combined B vitamins provided no beneficial effect and no harmful effect,” said Zhang. “So in terms of cancer risk, this may not be an effective approach.”

In the study, researchers randomly assigned women with cardiovascular disease or risk factors such as high blood pressure to take a daily supplement of vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid or a placebo between April 1998 and July 2005.

“A total of 379 women developed invasive cancer (187 in the active treatment group and 192 in the placebo group),” the study’s authors wrote. “Compared with placebo, women receiving the active treatment had similar risk of developing total invasive cancer, breast cancer, or any cancer death.”

Leafy Greens For Folate – Among women 65 and older, those taking B vitamins daily were 25 per cent less likely to develop cancer and 38 per cent less likely to get breast cancer.

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