Can multivitamins prevent cancer?

A multivitamin a day keeps the doctor away to prevent nutritional deficiency and indirectly reduce cancer risks.  Although most previous research studies have not demonstrated whether vitamin supplements are useful in the prevention or the treatment of cancer, the recently published randomized control trial of 14,641 male physicians in the Journal of the American Medical Association demonstrated that a multivitamin a day significantly reduced the incidence of cancer.  The participants started taking the vitamin or placebo at about age 50 and continued for eleven years. This study, Multivitamins in the Prevention of Cancer in Men- The Physicians’ Health Study II Randomized Controlled Trial, is different from most previous studies. It is one of the first randomized controlled trial in which the participants did not know whether they took a multivitamin or placebo daily.  Even though the effect is small, the study finds that taking a multivitamin daily reduces cancer risk.

To promote health, take a multivitamin a day; however, the benefits gained by taking a multivitamin imply that:

  1. We are affluently malnutritioned as our daily western industrialized processed diet is deficient in nutrients that support our immune system and health.  It would be better to eat an organic food diet with lots of vegetables and fruits. Even The President’s Cancer Panel Report, Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now,  published by the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recommends to consume to the “extent possible, food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers.” Eating an organic hunter and gatherer diet would include many other essential vitamins and minerals –some which we do not yet know—that  are not included in a single multivitamin.
  2. Start eating a healthy diet from birth since it  will have more  impact to prevent cancer than adding a multivitamin a day at age 50. Most epidemiological studies have shown that a predominantly vegetable and fruit diet is associated with lower cancer rates.
  3. Implement a health promoting life style to support the immune system. Begin now by practicing stress management, incorporating exercise,  performing self-healing strategies, and eating organic vegetable, fruits (no processed foods). For more suggestions see our book, Fighting Cancer-A Nontoxic Approach to Treatment.


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