Synthetic Supplements May Increase Breast Cancer Risk

Multivitamin-multimineral supplement use and mammographic breast density by Sylvie Bérubé in the May 2008 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported,

"Regular multivitamin-multimineral supplement use was found to be associated with higher mean breast density among premenopausal women…Because breast density is strongly and positively related to breast cancer risk, these findings do not support any benefit from multivitamin-multimineral supplement use on breast cancer risk. Instead, they suggest that such multivitamin-multimineral supplement use should be studied for its possible association with an increased risk of breast cancer."1

Taking various synthetic vitamin supplements, like beta-carotene, Vitamin E, and/or folic acid has been found in multiple studies to increase the risk of cancer, heart disease and overall death.2

Many observational studies have found that a high intake of fruits and vegetables, which are also filled with antioxidant, folic acid, and other vitamins, is associated with a decreased risk of cancer.

Foods are not the same as supplements. When isolated, concentrated, synthetic nutrients are ingested, as with multivitamin and multimineral supplements, chemical imbalances are created within the cells - the end result, as many studies have shown, is an increased risk of disease and earlier death.2

More than half of the women in the U.S. take supplements. Therefore, even a small percentage increase in illness will mean many people are affected. People should be getting their nutrients from food - primarily vegetables and fruits.

These findings are similar to research reported in "How Safe Are Your Vitamins?", an educational guide. It includes information about a study using synthetic vitamins, e.g. synthetic Vitamin E, resulted in increased rates of lung cancer, heart attacks and death.

Check your vitamin label against the above guide. Then ask for supplements made from real food. There are not many companies that offer real-food supplements, but they do exist, such as The AIM Companies.

Note: Nearly all vitamins sold in the U.S. and the UK are synthetic. In addition, most synthetic vitamins are now made in China.

1) Bérubé S, Diorio C, Brisson J. Multivitamin-multimineral supplement use and mammographic breast density. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 May;87(5):1400-4.

2) Bjelakovic G, Nikolova D, Simonetti RG, Gluud C. Antioxidant supplements for prevention of mortality in healthy participants and patients with various diseases. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008 Apr 16;(2):CD007176.