Thursday, May 17, 2007

Are Vitamins Killing Us?

I have held for a long time, as many may know, that there is scant evidence in long term studies that Vitamins, Supplements or Diet does much of anything once we have been diagnosed with cancer. My recommendations has been simply take one high quality multivitamin to supplement your diet, if your diet is lacking in these things. My recommendation has been to take the Vitamin pill with the largest meal of the day.

In the case of advanced disease it may be as much value to let the patient be happy with what he eats without restricting the diet or forcing pills down him. The happiness may give him just as long as anything else. Besides in this study giving a lot of vitamins may not be the thing to do.

There is some evidence that aspirin or ibuprofen might well be a preventative of prostate cancer if it is taken from the time of a young man until reaching the age that we see prostate cancer. There is some evidence that here may be other things that we can do along this line to prevent or delay prostate cancer. But even here we do not have a lot of long term studies to prove this and little to none where we use a double blind study.

Now comes a study at with news articles at and that throws out the question that more than 7 doses of vitamins a week may well increase the number of deaths of men with prostate cancer. This is one rather well done study and we would like to see it verified by other studies and we will, in time, have these. With that said we have had previous studies showing that Vitamins and supplements have ltttle effect on this disease.

Some will say - listen to your doctor - but in this area the doctor may not be up on the latest studies and probably has no more experience than many of us in the use of vitamins. they have had little to no training in Medical School about diet and vitamins. In addition the thinking has changed so drastically in recent years the training they might have had is seriously out of date.

I believe it is of value to all men with prostate cancer to cut down on their use of Vitamins and supplements until we have more definitive studies in this field. We have had numerous studies that frankly has said that Vitamins are ineffective and a waste of money - but this is the first study that says we may be killing ourselves by taking large doses. I am not sure what the definition is for "large dose" but I would be very careful in taking more than what is needed to fulfill the minimum daily requirements.

Basically my thinking has not changed - but this study makes me more resolute to try to convince patients that Vitamins and Supplements do us any good and may, in fact, cause harm.

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