The nutritional supplement industry has seen excellent growth over the last few years as more and more Americans try to get away from the highly processed diets of the past and using these products to help fill gaps in their nutrition. B-vitamin complex supplements are a big part of this market, promising to boost energy levels, particularly important in an age where it seems everyone is just a little too tired.
Well, a new study suggests that high doses of vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 could put you at a higher risk for lung cancer; at least, among men who smoke that is.
Published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the study say that men who smoke and take high doses of B-vitamins could be 30 to 40 percent more likely to develop lung cancer. Keep in mind that “high doses,” in this case, refers to doses that far exceed the recommended daily allowance, explains study author Theodore Brasky.
The Ohio State University College of Medicine epidemiologist in the division of cancer prevention and control goes on to say, “I think these results point to a synergism [ between high-dose B vitamins, smoking, and lung cancer risk among men],” Brasky said.
As you might gather, then, male smokers who take the highest possible dose of vitamin B6 had the highest risk—at triple—for developing lung cancer over a six year period when compared against male smokers who do not take supplements. And the outcomes are worse with those who take vitamin B12: four times as likely to develop lung cancer. The supplement levels in question: more than 11 times the recommended daily amount of vitamin B6 and 23 times the recommended daily amount of vitamin B12.
Brasky also notes, “If you look at B-vitamin supplement bottles … they are anywhere between 50-fold the US recommended dietary allowance (to) upward of 2,100-fold,” adding that B12 injections have also been somewhat in fashion the past few years.
But, he said, “we found that men who took more than 20 milligrams per day of B6 averaged over 10 years had an 82 percent increased risk of lung cancer relative to men who did not take supplemental B vitamins from any source.”
He adds, “Men who took more than 55 micrograms per day of B12 had a 98 percent increased lung cancer risk relative to men who did not take B vitamins.”