Published: Thu, August 24, 2017
Medicine | By Rogelio Lindsey

Boost vitamin b pills linked to lung cancer

Boost vitamin b pills linked to lung cancer

However, similar increased cancer risk was not seen in women or with the vitamin B9, said the study. This is the first study to prospectively examine the effects of extended, high-dose B6/B12 supplement use and lung cancer risk.

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. Vitamins B6 and B12 are also important for healthy nerve function.

Among men, taking B6 and B12 from only individual supplement sources was associated with a 30% to 40% increase in risk for lung cancer.

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.

"Consistent with prior evidence of harm for other vitamin supplements on lung cancer risk in male smokers, the associations we observed provides evidence that high-dose B6 and B12 supplements should not be taken for lung cancer prevention and may, in fact, increase the risk of this disease in men", they write in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Study lead Dr Theodore Brasky warned many supplements contained doses "much, much higher" than recommended.

Researchers had generally thought the B vitamins had anti-cancer properties.

"Now if you're a male and you're a smoker, and these findings were proven to be replicated over time, then there would be some concern that you probably don't want to be taking megadoses [of B 6 and B12]", Brasky says.

"I don't think there's a clear, scientific backing for a healthful need for these supplements at those doses", Brasky said. There also has been speculation that these vitamins may reduce cancer risk. They were 89 percent more likely to get lung cancer than those who didn't take B12.

Other researchers have found different results.

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".

Dr. Eric Bernicker, a thoracic oncologist with Houston Methodist Hospital, agreed with that advice and said the study points to a higher risk of lung cancer from higher doses.

While the supplements might help those with anemia or celiac disease and prevent them from feeling exhausted, large doses may prove to be very useful for an average healthy person.

In a statement, Duffy MacKay, a senior vice president of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a trade group for the vitamin industry, urged consumers "to resist the temptation to allow sensational headlines from this new study to alter their use of B vitamins". Among other things, it required participants to remember what they consumed over 10 years.

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