Are you sitting down? Because I’m about to break some news that you should have heard in every media outlet. (But of course, didn’t.)
Older women may be able to reduce their risk of death from invasive breast cancer, simply by taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement.
And we’re not talking some small amount of protection, either. We’re talking a 30 percent reduction in mortality risk. I’d say a number like that deserves some front page, above the fold coverage, wouldn’t you?
Yet, for years, conventional oncologists have been telling people not to take vitamins. Why? Because it could interfere with the poisonous treatments they peddle to you instead.
I suppose they’re just going to have to swallow their own bitter pill now. But enough with my ranting. Let me tell you a little more about this new study.
It’s the largest trial yet to look at multivitamin supplements in postmenopausal breast cancer survivors. Researchers analyzed data from the Women’s Health Initiative–featuring a cohort of nearly 8,000 women.
At baseline, multivitamin users comprised 37.8 percent of the women with incident invasive breast cancer. And results showed that the risk of breast cancer mortality was 30 percent lower among multivitamin users compared to non-users.
And this is after adjusting for a long list of confounding factors. (Including age of diagnosis, race, cancer stage, hormone-dependent status of the tumor, smoking, BMI, alcohol use, exercise habits, and diabetes.)
So, after this truly amazing discovery, did the researchers turn over a new leaf, and give multivitamins a ringing endorsement? Allow me to share it with you:
“It appears that taking multivitamins is safe for women with breast cancer, and may be protective. However, most were taking multivitamins with minerals before they were diagnosed with breast cancer; we do not know if starting to take multivitamins after diagnosis is of benefit or harm.”
I’m sorry, but that “conclusion” is about as bland as white bread. And you know how I feel about white bread. (Or any kind of bread, for that matter. But I digress.)
The researchers also concluded that, overall, “supplement users were healthier and had a healthier lifestyle.” Gee, you don’t say!
But wait–it gets better. They go on to say “It should be noted that these supplements generally contain about 20 or more vitamins and minerals, usually at the recommended daily allowance, so these are not megadoses, which can be harmful.”
As usual, they give with one hand and take away with the other. Please, show me studies that show that “megadoses”–the ridiculously exaggerated term for any dosage that exceeds the paltry and often grossly insufficient RDA–can be harmful.
By the way, note their use of the word “can” versus “may.” It’s a subtle but huge distinction in medical parlance. And it tells you everything you need to know about these researchers’ opinion of their own findings.
At the end of the day, vitamins might never get the credit they deserve. And the medical establishment will probably continue to vilify them, regardless of what the research really says.
But lucky for all of us, facts are still facts–whether some people choose to accept them or not.
Vitamins Might Reduce Breast Cancer Mortality. Medscape. Oct 11, 2013.
“Multivitamin and mineral use and breast cancer mortality in older women with invasive breast cancer in the women’s health initiative.” Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2013 Oct;141(3):495-505.