Men may turn to vitamin B6 and B12 supplements to boost their energy levels, but new research suggests the pills may also boost their lung cancer risk in the long run. The cancer risk tripled if users were smokers.
The study tracked 77,000 people for more than 10 years and kept an eye on their vitamin supplementation. Men who took high doses of the two vitamins for a decade increased their lung cancer risk two-fold than non-users. Male smokers saw their risk jump threefold to fourfold. Study authors found no similar association in women.
Lead author Theodore Brasky, on the other hand, doesn’t believe vitamin B6 and B12 supplements can cause cancer. He speculates that large doses of the two vitamins boost the reproduction rate of cancerous lung cells that had already mutated.
Researchers recommend men to stop smoking because the habit increases the risk of developing lung cancer by 15% to 30%. It also boosts the risk of other types of cancer. Yet, if a man can’t quit, he should stay away from vitamin B supplementation.
“Regardless of how much a person smokes, if a man is taking a high dose of these vitamins, they’re the ones who are at the most risk,”
said the researchers.
It Is Better to Get Vitamins from Diet
Men should also get the vitamins from the diet. Foods rich in vitamin B12 are fish, eggs, dairy, and meat. B6 is usually found in organs, potatoes, and non-citrus fruits. The recommended daily dose of vitamin B6 is 1.3 milligrams (adults can get that dose from one cup of chickpeas), and the daily dose for vitamin B12 is 2.4 micrograms, which can be attained from 2.5 ounces of trout.
Energy boosters tend to have large doses of these two vitamins, researchers warn. For instance, one pill can contain 5,000 micrograms, which exceeds by a lot the recommended daily dose.
Researchers couldn’t tell why women didn’t see their lung cancer risk jump after the supplementation. The team thinks that men are at risk because they tend to smoke more.
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