Supplements Increase Cancer Risk?
By Bryan Wright
We wanted to have our sleep guru here for some hot headlines. Please welcome Dr. Raj Dasgupta back to the show. Thank you. (audience applause) So, but before we dive into a really interesting sleep topic, I want to talk about supplements. The question being, could your daily B12 supplement that you use to boost your energy and metabolism also boost your risk for cancer? Get this, researchers in a brand new study published in Journal of Clinical Oncology reported that those taking vitamin B6 and B12 supplements in high doses like those sold in many stores as well as online, it appeared to triple or almost quadruple some peoples’ risk of lung cancer. Men in particular, when you looked at the study of 77,181 men and women, lot of people, aged 50 to 76, they evaluated vitamin supplementation in relation to cancer risk. And without digging into too many details, they found that those who used vitamin B6 and B12, from individual supplement sources, not from multivitamins, it was associated with a 30 to 40 percent increased risk in lung cancer amongst normal men. But get this, men who took the highest dosage of these vitamins over a ten year period, about twice as likely to develop lung cancer. Among male smokers, the risk was three times more likely for B6 takers, four times more likely for B12 takers. And everyone’s sitting here thinking, well you’re talking about antioxidants, you’re talking about vitamins, no! These things cure us from cancer. No, the more, the merrier! We’ve been screaming from the rooftops on this show for years that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, and this study may support that. Sure. I’m a big believer that we are completely overdoing, you know, a lot of vitamins that don’t even have a lot of scientific proof behind them. But it sounds good, everybody wants a silver bullet- Fat soluble vitamins, I mean- But silver bullets have been killing us. It’s, we know. ADEK, right? You can overdose on those … Correct, on those vitamins, D, E, A, and K, fat soluble- I do find it fascinating, there is a theory out there that if you’re taking massive super-therapeutic doses, that yeah, they may cause your healthy cells to do a better job, but they could potentially also feed cancerous cells, to become more … You’re the pulmonologist. You’re the one cancer expert. And I agree with what you were saying. There is a recommended daily amount, and that’s why it’s out there. There’s no data to say if we take super-therapeutic doses of this, but I like what you said, you know, fat soluble vitamins, those are ones you could really overdose on. It seems odd that these water soluble, the B complexes, why would you get it with this? But hey, that smoking thing needs to controlled for, and gender. I love that, because why men and not women? That’s a question that needs to be asked. I think it also highlights, we should eat healthy, we should make sure we’re getting all of our vitamins. If you are someone who’s chosen to eat a vegan diet, where you don’t get natural B12 from your diet, you probably should supplement. Talk to your doctor about it, but we can’t just indiscriminately take more and more and more and assume that it’s going to help us live longer. And you have to go ahead, when you go see your doctor, and say, “look, yeah, I’m taking these supplements” … Yes. Right. “This is the diet I’m eating, is there any concern here?” I think, and that’s a good point, Travis. Because when we ask for your medications, a lot of patients will only list prescription medications, but you should also tell your doctor about supplements, because there can be interactions and in some cases, you know, supplements can do some good, but in some instances supplements can also do harm, so you really want to talk to your healthcare provider about that. And let me just prove a big difference here, for our viewers. So I’m reading one label here, and in this label the dose is 8333% of your daily value. Now this one makes me less worried. 250% of your daily value. But when I say super-therapeutic doses, I’m talking about doses that are thousands and thousands of percentages beyond the normal recommended dose.