Study reveals link between vitamin B supplementation and lung cancer

High vitamin B intake increases lung cancer risk among men

High doses of vitamin B can raise lung cancer risk for male smokers

Among men, taking B6 and B12 from only individual supplement sources was associated with a 30% to 40% increase in risk for lung cancer.

Researchers said there was no increased risk of lung cancer in women who took high doses of vitamin B.

The risks of developing lung cancer were even higher for men who take the supplements and also smoke, according to the study, which was published this month in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Said Ohio State's Theodore Brasky, PhD: "This sets all of these other influencing factors as equal, so we are left with a less confounded effect of long-term B6 and B12 super-supplementation...." While previous research suggests vitamins B6 and B12 can provide some protection against the disease, a new study found taking too much actually escalates the risk of lung cancer, but only in men. They were 89 percent more likely to get lung cancer than those who didn't take B12. It found all men who took high-dose vitamin B supplements for a decade had about double the risk of developing lung cancer. Long-Term, Supplemental, One-Carbon Metabolism-Related Vitamin B Use in Relation to Lung Cancer Risk in the Vitamins and Lifestyle (VITAL) Cohort. Smoking is one of the single biggest risk factors for lung cancer, which makes up more than 13% of all new cancer diagnoses and more than one in four cancer deaths in the U.S. For smokers takin B12, the risk was almost fourfold higher.

In addition, the highest categories of supplementation reported in this study represent usage levels that can only be obtained from high-dose vitamin B supplements, Brasky said. Furthermore, some public health experts note it's possible that cancer itself can change the vitamin levels in the blood.

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All participants were aged between 50 and 76 were recruited in the state of Washington between the years 2000 and 2002.

The high-dose energy drinks are not quite as concerning as supplements, since you likely would not drink those every day for years the way the men in the study had taken supplements. He responded, "I don't think we were surprised by the direction of the association both because of the context of prior literature as well as the general idea that there are often U-shaped associations between nutrition and disease". Furthermore, he emphasized that the "powerful prospective observational study" really shows that "normal" supplement consumption does not cause cancer. "This is certainly a concern worthy of further evaluation". Vitamins B-6 and B-12 may just "hasten or increase the likelihood of lung carcinogenesis among male smokers". Then, they followed up the participants for an average of about 6 years to see how many developed lung cancer.

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