Supplements a “Waste of Money” for Disease (Cancer) Prevention?

Over half of Americans take supplements, many with the hope of preventing chronic disease and staying mentally sharp. Yet it’s a waste of money, writes a group of physicians in a strongly-worded editorial published today.Supp_canstockphoto7372360

The editorial — stating “Enough is Enough” in the title — was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

For cancer risk, AICR’s expert report and its continuous updates also found there is not enough evidence showing supplements offer protection. AICR recommends not relying on supplements, instead getting in your cancer-protective phytochemicals and nutrients from food.

The editorial cites three major articles. One was an analysis focusing on supplement use and cancer, along with cardiovascular disease, and mortality. That analysis was by the United States Preventive Services Task Force and published last month: we wrote about it here. Continue reading


Analysis: That Supplement May Not Protect Against Cancer, Heart Disease

For cancer prevention, the evidence is pretty clear: vitamins, minerals and other supplements alone don’t work. Not relying on supplements is one of AICR’s recommendations for cancer prevention — a recommendation made after analyzing the global SuppsInFishShaperesearch.

Now a review of the research supports this conclusion, finding that many popular supplements do not protect against both cancer and heart disease, the two leading causes of death in America. At least among healthy individuals. And some supplements may possibly cause harm among certain groups of people. The report was published by the US Preventive Task Force, an update to their 2003 report with similar findings.

The analysis reviewed all the new evidence since the last report, collecting only “good quality” studies. At the end of it, there were 26 new studies.

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Omega-3s and Prostate Cancer Fact Check: What’s a Guy to Do?

The media is abuzz in the wake of a surprising new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute linking omega-3s to a higher risk of prostate cancer. But should men give up eating their salmon?SuppsInFishShape

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are generally acclaimed for their link to reduced inflammation and overall health promotion, especially heart health. Omega-3s are found in salmon and other fatty fish as well as in supplements. Fish oil capsules containing the omega-3s EPA and DHA are among the most popular supplements.

The study measured the percent of three omega-3s most commonly found in fish and supplements – DHA, EPA and DPA – in the blood of 834 men with prostate cancer matched to 1,393 men without cancer. Men with the highest percentage of omega-3s in their blood had a 43% increased risk of prostate cancer compared to those with the lowest concentration. No increase in risk was found in the men in the two middle quartiles – in other words, those with moderate levels.

What’s a guy to do? For now, follow AICR’s evidence-based recommendations for prostate cancer. Men can include plenty of foods rich in the antioxidants lycopene (tomatoes are a great source) and selenium (found in sunflower seeds and Brazil nuts) and rest easy knowing they’re helping reduce their risk of not only cancer but other chronic Continue reading