Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

High doses of certain dietary supplements increase cancer risk

Date:
May 15, 2012
Source:
University of Colorado Denver
Summary:
Beta-carotene, selenium and folic acid -- taken up to three times their recommended daily allowance, these supplements are probably harmless. But taken at much higher levels as some supplement manufacturers suggest, these three supplements have now been shown to increase the risk of developing a host of cancers.

Beta-carotene, selenium and folic acid -- taken up to three times their recommended daily allowance, these supplements are probably harmless. But taken at much higher levels as some supplement manufacturers suggest, these three supplements have now been shown to increase the risk of developing a host of cancers.

Related Articles


"It's not that these nutrients are toxic -- they're essential and we need them, but we need them in a certain balance," says Tim Byers, MD, MPH, professor of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health and associate director for prevention and control at the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

Byers is senior author of a commentary recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that discusses the clinical and policy implications of the increased cancer risk from high dose dietary supplements.

"We have a window into less than half of the biology of what these nutrients are doing," Byers says. "We say generalized things about them, calling them an antioxidant or an essential mineral, but true biology turns out to be more complex than that. The effects of these supplements are certainly not limited to the label we give them. And, as we've seen, sometimes the unintended effects include increased cancer risk."

Currently the FDA regulates dietary supplements as food, but, as Byers and colleagues suggest, supplements, especially at high doses, are more accurately described as inhabiting a mid-ground between food and drugs. Like drugs, supplement ingredients are biologically active -- sometimes for better and sometimes for worse

"We need to do a better job as a society in ensuring that the messages people get about value versus risk is accurate for nutritional supplements," Byers says. "My conclusion is that taking high doses of any particular nutrient is more likely to be a bad thing than a good thing."

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Colorado Denver. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. E. Martinez, E. T. Jacobs, J. A. Baron, J. R. Marshall, T. Byers. Dietary Supplements and Cancer Prevention: Balancing Potential Benefits Against Proven Harms. JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2012; 104 (10): 732 DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djs195

Cite This Page:

University of Colorado Denver. "High doses of certain dietary supplements increase cancer risk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120515151034.htm>.
University of Colorado Denver. (2012, May 15). High doses of certain dietary supplements increase cancer risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120515151034.htm
University of Colorado Denver. "High doses of certain dietary supplements increase cancer risk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120515151034.htm (accessed March 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, March 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) — A popular class of antibiotic can leave patients in severe pain and even result in permanent nerve damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) — In rare bipartisan harmony, congressional leaders pushed a $214 billion bill permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts toward House passage Thursday, moving lawmakers closer to resolving a problem that has plagued them for years. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
What's Different About This Latest Ebola Vaccine

What's Different About This Latest Ebola Vaccine

Newsy (Mar. 26, 2015) — A whole virus Ebola vaccine has been shown to protect monkeys exposed to the virus. Here&apos;s what&apos;s different about this vaccine. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
HIV Outbreak Prompts Public Health Emergency In Indiana

HIV Outbreak Prompts Public Health Emergency In Indiana

Newsy (Mar. 26, 2015) — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says he will bring additional state resources to help stop the epidemic. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins