Vitamin B may increase risk of lung cancer in men, study says

High vitamin B intake increases lung cancer risk among men

One will try to see whether there are similar effects in post-menopausal women. Worryingly, the exact opposite may be true if they are taken at high levels over long periods of time.

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

Male smokers taking 20 milligrams of vitamin B-6 per day for 10 years were three times more likely to go on to develop lung cancer, while male smokers taking 55 micrograms of vitamin B-12 per day for 10 years were around four times more likely to develop the disease.

Could vitamin B supplements protect against lung cancer? Dr. Kourosh Ahmadi with Surrey University says it is highly unlikely very many people are taking the vitamins above the recommended daily allowance.

Although now, there is evidence of just how much harm long-term mega-supplementation with B6 and B12 can do for male smokers.

"These are doses that can only be obtained from taking high-dose B vitamin supplements, and these supplements are many times the United States recommended dietary allowance".


For this study, Theodore Brasky, PhD, of the OSUCCC - James, and colleagues analyzed data from more than 77,000 patients participants in the VITamins And Lifestyle (VITAL) cohort study, a long-term prospective observational study created to evaluate vitamin and other mineral supplements in relation to cancer risk. Furthermore, some public health experts note it's possible that cancer itself can change the vitamin levels in the blood. Those who smoke and take high-dose B vitamins should consider cutting back to doses closer to the US RDA (i.e., from a multivitamin) or getting their nutrients from diet.

Brasky and colleagues conducted what they described as the first prospective, observational study to examine the effects of long-term, high-dose vitamin B6 and B12 supplement use on lung cancer risk. An average healthy body will flush out any excess, unneeded vitamin B, so taking a higher dose probably doesn't provide much benefit.

Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC - James), Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and National Taiwan University report their findings in the August 22, 2017 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Those limitations include the dependence on the ability of the study population, ages 50-76 years old, to remember and accurately report what they consumed over a ten-year period prior to the start of the study. If you have concerns about lung cancer or B vitamins, we recommend talking with your doctor or other healthcare practitioner.

Prior studies created to assess the association between lung cancer risk and B vitamin intake have yielded inconsistent results.

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