Multivitamins in the prevention of cancer in men
Updated: Jan 20
An incredible study articulating the positive effects of multivitamin supplementation in the prevention of cancer has been recently re-highlighted in the media these past few weeks! We wanted to share this study in detail as we are strong proponents of multivitamins with our unique Infinimin® Immunity Multivitamin!
Multivitamin preparations are the most common dietary supplement, taken by at least one-third of all US adults. Observational studies have not provided evidence regarding associations of multivitamin use with total and site-specific cancer incidence or mortality.
The goal of the study is to determine whether long-term multivitamin supplementation decreases the risk of total and site-specific cancer events among men.
A large-scale, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (Physicians' Health Study II) of 14,641 male US physicians initially aged 50 years or older (mean [Standard Deviation] age, 64.3 [9.2] years), including 1,312 men with a history of cancer at randomization, enrolled in a common multivitamin study that began in 1997 with treatment and follow-up through June 1, 2011.
They either took a Daily Multivitamin or placebo.
They were reviewing all cancers (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer), with prostate, colorectal, and other site-specific cancers among the secondary measures.
The results are astounding! During a median (interquartile range) follow-up of 11.2 (10.7-13.3) years, there were 2669 men with confirmed cancer, including 1373 cases of prostate cancer and 210 cases of colorectal cancer. Compared with placebo, men taking a daily multivitamin had a statistically significant reduction in the incidence of total cancer (multivitamin and placebo groups, 17.0 and 18.3 events, respectively, per 1000 person-years; hazard ratio [HR], 0.92; 95% CI, 0.86-0.998; P = .04). There was no significant effect of a daily multivitamin on prostate cancer (multivitamin and placebo groups, 9.1 and 9.2 events, respectively, per 1000 person-years; HR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.88-1.09; P = .76), colorectal cancer (multivitamin and placebo groups, 1.2 and 1.4 events, respectively, per 1000 person-years; HR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.68-1.17; P = .39), or other site-specific cancers. There was no significant difference in the risk of cancer mortality (multivitamin and placebo groups, 4.9 and 5.6 events, respectively, per 1000 person-years; HR, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.77-1.01; P = .07). Daily multivitamin use was associated with a reduction in total cancer among 1312 men with a baseline history of cancer (HR, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.56-0.96; P = .02), but this did not differ significantly from that among 13 329 men initially without cancer (HR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.87-1.02; P = .15; P for interaction = .07).
In conclusion, this large long term study was a prevention trial of male physicians, daily multivitamin supplementation significantly reduced the risk of total cancer.
1. Gaziano, MD, MPH, et. al. Multivitamins in the Prevention of Cancer in MenThe Physicians' Health Study II Randomized Controlled Trial. JAMA. 2012;308(18):1871-1880. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.14641
2. Clinical Trials Identifier - NCT00270647 (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00270647)