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Trial uncovers protective effect for multinutrient supplementation against cancer

Trial uncovers protective effect for multinutrient supplement against cancer

Tuesday, October 23, 2012. The Journal of the American Medical Association published an article on October 17 that reports a reduction in the risk of cancer among male physicians who consumed multinutrient supplements.

The trial included 14,641 men aged 50 or older upon enrollment in the Physician's Health Study II (PHS II). One thousand three hundred twelve men reported a history of cancer at the beginning of the study. Participants received a daily multivitamin or a placebo over a period of 10.7 to 13.3 years, during which 2,669 cases of cancer (excluding nonmelanoma skin cancers) occurred.

Among those who received the multinutrient supplement, the risk of developing any cancer was 8 percent lower than those who received a placebo. While multinutrient supplementation had no effect on the risk of prostate cancer (which comprised approximately one half of the cancers that occurred), total epithelial cell cancers were reduced by 8 percent. The protective effect of supplementation did not differ significantly between those with or without a history of the disease.

"We are unaware of other long-term clinical trials testing a common multivitamin in the prevention of cancer and chronic disease," lead author J. Michael Gaziano, MD, MPH and his associates announce.

"The reduction in total cancer risk in PHS II argues that the broader combination of low-dose vitamins and minerals contained in the PHS II multivitamin, rather than an emphasis on previously tested high-dose vitamins and mineral trials, may be paramount for cancer prevention," they write. "The role of a food-focused cancer prevention strategy such as targeted fruit and vegetable intake remains promising but unproven given the inconsistent epidemiologic evidence and lack of definitive trial data."

"Although the main reason to take multivitamins is to prevent nutritional deficiency, these data provide support for the potential use of multivitamin supplements in the prevention of cancer in middle-aged and older men," they conclude.

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What's Hot Highlight

Greater intake of EPA, DHA linked with lower endometrial cancer risk

What's Hot

An article published online on August 22, 2012 in the European Journal of Nutrition reports a protective effect for the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) against the risk of endometrial cancer. Endometrial cancer (cancer of the uterus) is the fourth most common cancer in U.S. women, and has been linked to obesity, hormone replacement and other factors.

Yale researchers matched 688 women diagnosed with endometrial cancer with 674 control subjects who did not have the disease. Dietary questionnaire responses were analyzed for the intake of fish, fish oil, omega-6 fatty acids, total omega-3 fatty acids, and individual omega-3 fatty acids including linolenic acid, EPA, DHA and docosapentaenoic acid.

While total omega-3 fatty acid consumption was not found to be associated with the risk of endometrial cancer, women whose intake of EPA was among the top 25 percent of participants had a 43 percent lower risk of endometrial cancer compared with those whose intake was among the lowest fourth. For DHA, subjects whose intake was highest had a 36 percent lower risk of the disease compared with the lowest 25 percent. Although total fish intake did not appear to be protective against endometrial cancer, women who reported using fish oil supplements within one to five years prior to receiving their diagnosis or being interviewed for the study had a 37 percent lower risk compared to those who did not use the supplements.

"Our study suggests an inverse association between long-chain dietary omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA and fish oil supplement use with risk of endometrial cancer," the authors conclude. "Future studies should further explore associations with intake of specific fatty acids, food sources, and blood and tissue biomarkers to understand better the associations between these fatty acids and endometrial cancer risk."

How you can live healthier longer

How you can live healthier longer

Information is power … especially when it comes to your personal health. Life Extension was formed in 1980 to enable consumers to know and understand their options to live longer and better. Life Extension founders were fascinated by the fact that some individuals live a long life with few medical problems, yet most people expire prematurely. They wanted to find out what caused people to die too young. This yearning provided tremendous incentive to form a non-profit organization to educate the public about how to protect against the diseases of aging. Co-founder Bill Faloon explains it this way:

“When Saul Kent and I established the Life Extension Foundation back in 1980, our objective was to raise public awareness that pathological aging need not be an inevitable consequence of human maturation."

"Back then, few scientists believed that anything could be done to prevent the degenerative effects inflicted by aging. To counter this misconception, Saul and I pointed to then-current scientific studies showing that it was possible to prevent some age-related diseases and to slow the aging process itself. We argued that if enough funds were committed to research, therapies to retard human aging could be developed that would result in the greatest revolution in medical history."

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