The study included a clinical trial which consisted of nearly 15,000 older males. Doctors monitored the men for more then 10 years and found that those who took a multivitamin daily reduced their risk of cancer by 8 percent over those that took a placebo.
The study, which was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association
"In this large prevention trial of male physicians, daily multivitamin supplementation modestly but significantly reduced the risk of total cancer."
Dr Howard Sesso, co-author of the Brigham and Women's Hospital study, told NetDoctor
"Many studies have suggested that eating a nutritious diet may reduce a man's risk of developing cancer. Now we know that taking a daily multivitamin, in addition to addressing vitamin and mineral deficiencies, may also be considered in the prevention of cancer in middle-aged and older men."
report states that during the course of the 10 year trial, there were 2,669 confirmed cases of cancer. Half of those cases involved prostate cancer. Although the study did not show that the daily multivitamin benefited the prostate cancer patients, it did show a reduction in the total number of epithelial cell cancer and reduced the risk of cancer in general.
Prior clinical trials which tested single vitamins such as a folate or beta carotene had shown no cancer reduction benefits. However, a daily multivitamin, which includes a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, appears to be the reason behind the positive results of the JAMA study according to the Washington Post
Duffy MacKay, VP scientific and regulatory affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition, told Drug Store News
“This study reinforces the value of long-term consistent use of a daily multivitamin as a convenient and affordable insurance policy for good health. Not only did this study provide good news for the supplement industry and its consumers, but it also provided another reminder that science should be viewed in the context of the full body of scientific literature."
Scott Melville, president and CEO for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, agreed with MacKay, saying:
"This study … demonstrates the role of accessible and affordable consumer health products like multivitamins in cancer prevention. Now more than ever, consumers should strive to maintain a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and exercise, and can continue to rely on vitamins to fill nutritional gaps and enhance health."
Although the research focused on older men, the researchers believe the results support the potential use of multivitamin supplements in the prevention of cancer in middle-aged men as well according to an AARP