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Multivitamins Linked to Breast Cancer in Inconclusive Study


Multivitamins & Breast Cancer Study

A major Swedish study (see American Journal of Clinical Nutrition) has associated daily multivitamin intake with an increased risk in breast cancer.

Sweden’s Karolinska Institute monitored thirty five thousand women over a period of ten years, and it was found that women who took a daily multivitamin (containing Vitamin C, E and B-Carotene) had a 19% increased risk of breast cancer.

Why the Jury is Still Out

The evidence the study uses to support its claim is not strong enough to conclude that multivitamins may trigger cancer. Whilst the role of multivitamins in the prevention of heart disease and cancer is also inconclusive, there are too many other factors that may have influenced the study’s results. Some of these factors include the:

  • Smoking status of the participant
  • Dietary supplementation status of the participant
  • Alcohol intake of the participant
  • Menopausal status of the participant
  • Use of exogenous hormones by the participant

Something else to keep in mind is that the findings fail to report whether the multivitamin administered to participants derived from synthetic (coal tar derivatives) or natural sources (such as fruit and vegetables). Scientists in Finland and at the University of California have linked synthetic vitamins with decreased protection against diseases such as cancer and stroke (as published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine).

Sensible Steps to Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer

Rather than cut out your daily multivitamin, read the following easy steps to lessen your risk of breast cancer:

  • Purchase a multivitamin produced with natural constituents. Ask your local naturopath, nutritionist or health food store professional for guidance on difference between the brands.
  • Do cardiovascular exercise three times a week at a minimum.
  • Do not smoke
  • Cut your alcohol intake to no more than two standard drinks per day (as recommended by the National Health and Medical Research Council).
  • Eat a balanced, nutritious diet. Avoid processed meats, barbeques meats, saturated fats and highly processed food, and increase your vegetable, tea, fish, fruit and nut intake.



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