Clear Link Between Heavy Vitamin B Intake And Lung Cancer

Clear Link Between Heavy Vitamin B Intake And Lung Cancer

The researchers determined that men who now smoked and reported taking more than 20 milligrams (mg) of vitamin B6 daily during the 10-year period leading up to the study were about three times as likely to develop lung cancer than current smokers who didn't use B6 supplements at all.

Current smokers who reported 10-year use of vitamin B6 at doses greater than 20 mg per day appeared almost three times as likely to develop lung cancer as nonusers (HR = 2.93; 95% CI, 1.5-5.72). Male smokers taking B6 at this dose were three times more likely to develop lung cancer.

The results showed that high doses of vitamins B-6 and B-12 (well above standard supplement dosage) over a 10-year period increase the risk of lung cancer in male smokers. This finding of increased risk appeared to be specific to men who were current smokers.

"These are doses that can only be obtained from taking high-dose B vitamin supplements, and these supplements are many times the U.S. recommended dietary allowance". The researchers used statistical techniques to adjust for a host of factors including age, race, smoking history, education, alcohol consumption, body size, use of anti-inflammatory drugs, personal history of cancer or lung disease and family history of lung cancer. They were 89 percent more likely to get lung cancer than those who didn't take B12.

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"We urge consumers to resist the temptation to allow sensational headlines from this new study to alter their use of B vitamins, especially without further understanding of the nature of this study and a conversation with their healthcare practitioners".

Said Ohio State's Theodore Brasky, PhD: "This sets all of these other influencing factors as equal, so we are left with a less confounded effect of long-term B6 and B12 super-supplementation...."

In addition, the highest categories of supplementation reported in this study represent usage levels that can only be obtained from high-dose vitamin B supplements, Brasky said.

There were too few cases of lung cancer among nonsmokers to include them in the full analysis. The numerous benefits of B vitamins from food and dietary supplements, including supporting cognition, heart health, and energy levels, are well-established, and this study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology doesn't change those facts. Then, they followed up the participants for an average of about 6 years to see how many developed lung cancer. Although they picked out an effect in a subset of the population - older adult males that smoke - because B vitamin supplements are so widely available and minimally regulated, the subject warrants further scrutiny. The study is unique as it was designed specifically to examine associations of dietary supplements with cancer occurrence. For vitamin B12, that risk almost quadrupled. The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

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