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.

"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 October 21, 2014 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 October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set up new guidelines for health workers taking care of patients infected with Ebola. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
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