Why B vitamins influence cancer risk is not known for sure, but some believe that it is related to how B vitamins interact with the so-called one-carbon-metabolism pathway.
Current smokers who reported 10-year use of vitamin B6 at doses greater than 20 mg per day appeared almost three times as likely to develop lung cancer as nonusers (HR = 2.93; 95% CI, 1.5-5.72).
Those taking more than 20mg per day of vitamin B6 over the same time period tripled their chances of being diagnosed with lung cancer.
Researchers said there was no increased risk of lung cancer in women who took high doses of vitamin B. While the findings are interesting, previous research could not find a definitive association between lung cancer and vitamin B supplements. The results of this study indicate that men taking vitamin B supplements are at a higher risk of developing lung cancer.
Before analysis, the data were controlled for several factors, including smoking, race, age, education, body size, personal history of cancer or chronic lung disease, alcohol consumption, family history of lung cancer, and use of anti-inflammatory drugs, which may have anti-cancer effects. We were unable to address whether lung cancer patients had improved or worsened prognosis if they took these supplements.
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However, one of the latest investigations found a 21 percent increase in overall cancer risk with supplementation of B-12 and B-9.
"These are doses that can only be obtained from taking high-dose B vitamin supplements, and these supplements are many times the U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance", he said. Then, they followed up the participants for an average of about 6 years to see how many developed lung cancer.
"We urge consumers to resist the temptation to allow sensational headlines from this new study to alter their use of B vitamins, especially without further understanding of the nature of this study and a conversation with their healthcare practitioners". In addition to complying with a host of federal and state regulations governing dietary supplements and food in the areas of manufacturing, marketing, quality control and safety, our manufacturer and supplier members also agree to adhere to additional voluntary guidelines as well as to CRN's Code of Ethics.
Disclosures: The NCI, NIH and Office of Dietary Supplements funded this study.
The results showed that among women, there was no correlation between supplemental B6, B9, and B12 and lung cancer risk. The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.