Study: Clear Link Between Heavy Vitamin B Intake and Lung Cancer

Long-term use of high-dose supplements more than triple risk in male smokers

Featured Video Play Icon
High-dose, long-term use of vitamins B12 and B6 dramatically increase a man’s risk of lung cancer, especially among those who smoke, according to a new study from The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – B vitamins are among the most popular supplements on the market in the United States. Some, like B6 and B12, are marketed and sold as products that can boost your energy. But a new study shows that using too much vitamin B6 and B12 dramatically increases lung cancer in men, particularly those who smoke.

“What we found was that men who had used dietary supplements, in particular B6 and vitamin B12, at high doses for 10 years, were at significant increased risk of developing lung cancer,” said Theodore Brasky, PhD, who led the study at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. “In fact, all men who used these supplements in high doses for a decade had approximately double the risk developing lung cancer, and in men who smoked, the risk was three to four times as great.”

Surprisingly, there was no increased risk of lung cancer found in women who took high-dose vitamin B6 and B12 supplements long-term, only men.

The recommended daily allowance for vitamin B6 for men is only about one and a half milligrams, and for vitamin B12, it’s less than two and a half micrograms per day.

“But if you look at these supplement bottles, they’re being sold in pill form at up to 5,000 micrograms per dose, which is much, much higher than the daily recommended amount,” said Brasky. “It’s very easy to get all the vitamin B you need in this country, from eating meats, chickpeas and foods like cereal that are fortified with them, so there really is no reason to supplement your vitamin B intake at these levels, and certainly not for years on end.”

The study followed more than 77,000 patients for more than a decade.

Images

(click to download)

High-dose, long-term use of vitamins B12 and B6 dramatically increase a man’s risk of lung cancer, especially among those who smoke, according to a new study from The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

Researchers analyzed data from 77,000 people who reported taking high-dose B6 or B12 supplements for more than a decade. They found that men supplementing at this level had approximately double the risk of developing lung cancer. Those who also smoked had a risk more than 3 to 4 times higher according to the study from The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

Theodore Brasky, PhD, looks at data from a study on vitamin B supplements at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. Researchers there followed more than 77,000 people for more than a decade and found that men who took high doses of vitamin B6 and B12 supplements for at least a decade had approximately double the risk of developing lung cancer, and in men who smoked, the risk was 3 to 4 times as great. Surprisingly, women involved in the same study who also took high levels of vitamin B supplements showed no increased risk of lung cancer.

Diana Sullivan, RN examines a patient at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. In a newly published study, researchers there discovered that men who take high-dose vitamin B6 and B12 supplements for a decade had significantly higher risks for developing lung cancer, especially if they also smoked while taking the supplements.