A new study showing a small benefit in taking multi-vitamins, particularly for middle-aged and older men.
In the new study, multivitamins cut the chance of developing cancer by eight per cent. That is less effective than a good diet, exercise and not smoking, each of which can lower cancer risk by 20 per cent to 30 per cent, cancer experts say.
Multivitamins also may have different results in women, younger men or people less healthy than those in this study.
“It’s a very mild effect and personally I’m not sure it’s significant enough to recommend to anyone” although it is promising, said Dr. Ernest Hawk, vice-president of cancer prevention at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and formerly of the National Cancer Institute.
“At least this doesn’t suggest a harm” as some previous studies on single vitamins have, he said.
As usual, should one wish to start taking multivitamins, some cautions:
- Recognize that they are not subject to testing like prescription drugs;
- Consult your doctor in case any side effects in relation to drugs or treatment already receiving; and,
- Smokers and former smokers should avoid multivitamins with lots of beta carotene or vitamin A.