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Beta Carotene Supplements May Increase Lung Cancer Risk

Posted Mar 05 2009 4:42am

Published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, a new 10-year analysis of more than 77,000 adults, men and women ages 50 to 76, revealed long term use of high-dose beta carotene supplements may heighten the risk of lung cancer, especially in smokers. Scientists used questionnaires to assess participants’ intake of dietary supplements and then tracked them for the next four years. These findings mirror a 2007 study showing vitamin C and E and folate supplements do not decrease the risk of lung cancer; ScienceDaily explains.

According to Dr. Fuhrman high doses of beta carotene interfere with the absorption of antioxidants, like carotenoids, which potentially increases the risk of cancer. Now, lots of fruits and vegetables contain beta carotene, such as orange foods like carrots, mangos and oranges, as well as leafy greens like cabbage, Bok Choy and broccoli.

Vitamins literally aren’t magic pills. Previous reports show vitamins alone can’t prevent heart disease or prostate cancer, i.e. a bacon cheese burger with a side of Centrum Silver isn’t healthy.

Image credit: Teresa Stanton

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