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Vitamin supplements offer no cancer protection

A study to determine whether a supplement of folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 could protect against cancer in women at high risk of cardiovascular disease found no benefit.

A total of 5442 American women aged 42 years or older, with pre-existing cardiovascular disease or three or more coronary risk factors received a daily combination of folic acid (2.5mg), vitamin B6 (50mg) and vitamin B12 (1mg) or placebo for seven years.

There was no significant difference in developing total invasive cancer (101.1/10 000 person-years vs 104.3/10 000 person-years) breast cancer (37.8/10 000 person-years vs 45.6/10 000 person-years), or any cancer death (24.6/10 000 person-years vs 30.1/10 000 person-years) between women taking the supplement and the placebo.

JAMA 2008; 300: 2012-21

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