Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Tamil Nadu, India—Authors affiliated with King Saud University and Loyola College, located here, conducted a study published in the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology (CJPP) on multivitamins’ effect on colon cancer risks.

The small-animal trial found that regular use of vitamin and mineral supplements reduced the risk of colon cancer. Rats given multivitamins and mineral supplements exhibited a lower risk of developing colon cancer when exposed to carcinogens. The researchers divided the rats into six groups, and all rats were fed a high-fat diet (20% fat) over a 32-week period. All six groups were exposed to different combinations of supplements and carcinogens. The colon carcinogenesis used in the study mimics that of human colon cancer. 

Rats exposed to carcinogens while being fed a high-fat plus low-fiber diet developed pre-cancerous lesions. Rats exposed to similar conditions but paired with the daily multivitamins and mineral supplements showed an 84% reduction in the formation of pre-cancerous lesions, which resulted in no tumor formation. Grant Pierce, Ph.D., editor of CJPP believes that it is unclear whether multivitamin supplementations are effective or detrimental to the cancer therapy process, but that the study is important.

Stated Pierce in a press release, “This study is important because it gives some direction to cancer patients in desperate need of guidance on the value of multivitamins and minerals administered during cancer.”

The authors conclude, “Multivitamin and mineral supplements synergistically contribute to the cancer chemopreventative potential, and hence, regular supplements of multivitamins and minerals could reduce the risk of colon cancer.”

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, April 2012, online 2/23/12