Dr. Dean Rising, 72, of Springfield, Mo., took daily pills for 30 years as part of his participation in two phases of the Physicians’ Health Study.
A new study following men has shown that taking multivitamins daily reduced the total risk of cancer by 8%. The study used Centrum Silver multivitamin, and included nearly 15,000 male doctors older than 50 and followed them for up to 13 years.
There appears to be a modest reduction in cancer among middle-aged and older men. The study also found that multivitamin use cut site-specific cancers, except for prostate cancer, by 12% and suggested a 12% reduction in deaths caused by cancer. However, this last figure wasn’t statistically significant.
Recent studies have looked at whether vitamins such as C, E and B12 could prevent cancer. They didn’t come up with any significant results, and some even found a higher risk of certain illnesses.
The researchers state that those studies were limited in scope and size. They also used single supplements at high doses, compared to how much a daily vitamin provides.
The Physicians’ Health Study II is the only large-scale, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial testing the long term effects of common multivitamins. The study included 14,641 men, all doctors, who received a pack of daily supplements or dummy pills between July 1997 and June 2011.
Boosting nutrition, even with daily vitamins, could have far-reaching health benefits. The trial only included men who were healthier than the general population and excluded women. A similar study in women could determine whether cancer risk is also reduced.