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Food-focused Cancer Prevention



In a randomized trial that included nearly 15,000 male physicians, long-term daily multivitamin use resulted in a modest but statistically significant reduction in cancer after more than a decade of treatment and follow-up, according to a study appearing in JAMA (Physician Health Study II, PHS II) (1).

This is a very interesting finding as data of large scale vitamin studies up to date seem to show the opposite! In this regard the authors comment: “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.” These findings are in accordance with the SUVIMAX study (2) where also a broader spectrum of low dose micronutrients has been used.

“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." and "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," the researchers conclude.

Source: JAMA Press Release for October 17, 2012

(1) Gaziano J, Sesso HD, Christen WG, et al. Multivitamins in the Prevention of Cancer in Men: The Physicians' Health Study II Randomized Controlled Trial. JAMA 2012;308(18):1871-1880; DOI: 10.1001/jama.2012.14641 (full text article)

(2) Hercberg S. et al. The SU.VI.MAX Study: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial of the health effects of antioxidant vitamins and minerals. Arch Intern Med. 2004 Nov 22;164(21):2335-42.

Foto: © Liddy Hansdottir -

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