study says taking too many vitamins may increase men's risk of dying from
prostate cancer. The study doesn't settle the issue, but it's the biggest
yet to suggest high-dose multivitamins may harm the prostate. [AP]
There's more worrisome news about vitamins: Taking
too many may increase men's risk of dying from prostate cancer.
The study, being published Wednesday, doesn't settle the issue. But it is the
biggest yet to suggest high-dose
multivitamins may harm the prostate, and the latest chapter in the confusing
quest to tell whether taking various vitamins really helps a variety of
conditions - or is a waste of money, or worse.
Government scientists turned to a study tracking the diet and health of
almost 300,000 men. About a third reported taking a daily multivitamin, and 5
percent were heavy users, swallowing the pills more than seven times a week.
Within five years of the study's start, 10,241 men had been diagnosed with
prostate cancer. Some 1,476 had advanced cancer; 179 died.
Heavy multivitamin users were almost twice as likely to get fatal prostate
cancer as men who never took the pills, concludes the study in Wednesday's
Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Here's the twist: Overall, the researchers found no link between multivitamin
use and early-stage prostate cancer.
The researchers speculate that perhaps high-dose vitamins had little effect
until a tumor appeared, and then could spur its growth.
While similar but smaller studies have suggested a link, too, more rigorous
research is needed, caution the National Cancer Institute scientists. This
newest study involves men who voluntarily took vitamins, and those most at risk
- perhaps because they had a family history of the disease - may have been more
likely to take the pills in hopes of avoiding their fate.
Still, "the findings lend further credence to the possibility of harm
associated with increased use of supplements," Dr. Christian Gluud of Copenhagen
University Hospital and Dr. Goran Bjelakovic of Serbia's University of Nis wrote
in an accompanying editorial.