- In an article recently published on the web site eFitnessNow.
a group of people http://www.efitnessnow.com/contact/ provide you with
what they believe to be useful health oriented information. I looked over
this entire website and no where could I find any information about the
staff and their qualifications as editors, or any information about their
backgrounds in health or related health professions.
- This may appear cynical on the surface, but it is important
to understand today's way of providing "news" and the way in
which it can affect your beliefs.
- Recently I listened to an interview on NPR addressing
MRSA. I have an interest in this topic as it is something I have been
working on with natural and creative approaches since 1993.
- I realized that all the journalist-author really did
in her book was to compile an amount of data that had already been reported
in the news. She also spoke with "researchers" about whom these
news articles had been written. There are a lot of reports of findings,
yet no constructive outcome or effective treatment has been discovered.
- The author and interviewer also avoided looking at other
options that the accepted standard mainstream models.
- This brings me to an article I posted on my blog, Natural
Health News, in February 2009, titled 'How Mainstream Media Distorts Health
- This is an important consideration when you are reading
"news" regardless of where you read it.
- The article in question is a very abridged report on
a meta-analysis of studies with vitamins.
- Multi-Vitamins Linked to Breast Cancer
- We know that there is, and has been, a directed effort
to limit you access to vitamins and supplements, and an effort also to
try to sway your opinion to the ideas that you can get all the needed nutrients
from food and supplements do not help prevent or heal disease.
- These concepts have been proven, over and over again,
to be false.
- But, you must consider that this article reports only
- A meta-analysis is a statistical method attributed to
Gene Glass, as defined in the following synopsis -
- What is a meta-analysis
- ·In 1976, Glass coined the term meta-analysis
- ·Meta-analysis refers to the analysis of analyses
the statistical analysisof a large collection of analysis resultsfrom individual
studies for the purpose of integrating the findings.(Glass, 1976, p3)
- ·Meta-analysis techniques are needed because only
summary statistics are typically available in the literature.
- ·Often used in medical and psychological studies.
- Now that you have the background information, let's move
on to the article in question, as reported by eFitnessNow.
- A startling connection between multi-vitamins and breast
cancer occurrence has prompted doctors to caution older women against a
daily multi-vitamin, unless absolutely needed. According to the results
of a Swedish study, the vitamins may be linked to breast cancer.
- The authors of the study cannot outright confirm the
correlation between the two but suggest the matter needs further research.
The study was led by Dr. Susanna C. Larsson of the Karolinska Institute
in Stockholm. The study followed 35,000 Swedish women between the ages
of 49 and 83 over a ten year period. All the women were cancer free at
the onset, with 974 developing breast cancer throughout the course of the
- Women who took daily vitamins were 19 percent more likely
to develop breast cancer. 9,000 women in the study were vitamin users with
293 developing the often fatal disease. Only 681 of the remaining 26,000
women developed breast cancer. A relatively small number of women who took
the daily vitamins were diagnosed with breast cancer, which lends to the
suggestion that if there is a risk, it is very modest.
- Larsson advises that women, who are eating a well-balanced
diet, do not need a multi-vitamin.
- The study has been published in the American Journal
of Clinical Nutrition.
- If you analyze this statement, "The study followed
35,000 Swedish women between the ages of 49 and 83 over a ten year period.
All the women were cancer free at the onset, with 974 developing breast
cancer throughout the course of the study.", you find that the statistical
impact is 0.02%.
- If you analyze this statement, "Women who took daily
vitamins were 19 percent more likely to develop breast cancer. 9,000 women
in the study were vitamin users with 293 developing the often fatal disease."
, you find that the statistical impact is 0.03%.
- And if you analyze this statement, "Only 681 of
the remaining 26,000 women developed breast cancer." , you find that
the statistical impact is 0.02%.
- And in conclusion, the report says, "A relatively
small number of women who took the daily vitamins were diagnosed with breast
cancer, which lends to the suggestion that if there is a risk, it is very
- The moral of this story is don't be fooled by headlines
and yes, and digest what you read.
- NB: If you do a search for Dr. Susanna C. Larrson you
can locate over one hundred articles based on meta-analysis of existing
- Also note that there is no definition of exactly what
multi-vitamins were used int he studies, and this is a critical concern,
as most vitamin studies done in the mainstream use low quality or too low
- Am J Clin Nutr (March 24, 2010). doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.28837
- © 2010 American Society for Clinical Nutrition
- Multivitamin Use And Breat Cancer Incidence In A Prospective
Cohort Of Swedish Women 1,2,3
- Susanna C Larsson, Agneta Åkesson, Leif Bergkvist
and Alicja Wolk
- 1 From the Division of Nutritional Epidemiology The National
Institute of Environmental Medicine Karolinska Institutet Stockholm Sweden
(SCL AÅAW)the Department of SurgeryCentre for Clinical Research Central
Hospital Västerås Sweden (LB).
- 2 Supported by research grants from the Swedish Cancer
Foundation and the Swedish Research Council for Infrastructure.
- 3 Address correspondence to SC Larsson, Division of Nutritional
Epidemiology, National Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska
Institutet, Box 210, SE-17177 Stockholm, Sweden. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Background: Many women use multivitamins in the belief
that these supplements will prevent chronic diseases such as cancer and
cardiovascular disease. However, whether the use of multivitamins affects
the risk of breast cancer is unclear.
- Objective: We prospectively examined the association
between multivitamin use and the incidence of invasive breast cancer in
the Swedish Mammography Cohort.
- Design: In 1997, 35,329 cancer-free women completed a
self-administered questionnaire that solicited information on multivitamin
use as well as other breast cancer risk factors. Relative risks (RRs) and
95% CIs were calculated by using Cox proportional hazard models and adjusted
for breast cancer risk factors.
- Results: During a mean follow-up of 9.5 y, 974 women
were diagnosed with incident breast cancer. Multivitamin use was associated
with a statistically significant increased risk of breast cancer. The multivariable
RR of women who reported the use of multivitamins was 1.19 (95% CI: 1.04,
1.37). The association did not differ significantly by hormone receptor
status of the breast tumor.
- Conclusions: These results suggest that multivitamin
use is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. This observed
association is of concern and merits further investigation.
- Received for publication October 20, 2009. Accepted for
publication February 28, 2010.
- Multivitamin Use Linked To Increased Breast Cancer Risk
- 30 Mar 2010
- Researchers in Sweden who studied data on over 35,000
middle aged and older women followed for 10 years found a link between
taking multivitamins and increased risk of breast cancer and said this
was of concern to public health and should be investigated further.
- You can read about the study, conducted at the Karolinska
Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, online in the 24 March issue of the American
Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
- Many women use multivitamins in the belief that they
will protect them from chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease,
wrote the authors in their background information.
- In fact, in February 2009, the Archives of Internal Medicine
published details of a large US study of over 160,000 postmenopausal women
that found no convincing evidence that long term use of multivitamins changed
their risk of developing common cancers, cardiovascular disease or dying
- But, as the authors of this Swedish study pointed out,
the effect of multivitamins on breast cancer only is unclear.
- For the prospective study, lead and corresponding author
Dr Susanna C Larsson, of the Division of Nutritional Epidemiology, National
Institute of Environmental Medicine at the Karolinska Institutet, and colleagues,
looked at data from 35,329 women in the Swedish Mammography Cohort, who
filled in questionnaires about their use of multivitamins and breast cancer
risk factors. The women were cancer free and aged between 49 and 83 when
they filled in the questionnaires in 1997.
- The results showed that:
- 974 women were diagnosed with incident breast cancer
over a mean follow up of 9.5 years.
- 293 of the diagnoses were among 9,017 women who reported
- Use of multivitamins was linked to a statistically significant
19 per cent increased risk of breast cancer (after adjusting for lifestyle
and risk factors like weight, diet, smoking, exercise, and family history
of breast cancer, the relative risk of women who reported using multivitamins
was 1.19, with confidence interval ranging from 1.04 to 1.37).
- Hormone receptor status did not change the strength of
this link significantly.
- The authors concluded that:
- "These results suggest that multivitamin use is
associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. This observed association
is of concern and merits further investigation."
- Readers concerned about these findings should note that
they don't prove that multivitamins caused the women's breast cancer: a
prospective study, which this was, can only show whether there is a link
or not and try and rule out possible influencers.
- As Larsson pointed out in an email to Reuters Health,
it is possible that something they did not measure is responsible for the
link. Also, even if the link was causal, these findings show that for any
one woman, using multivitamins has a small effect on her risk of breast
cancer, she noted.
- However, given the widespread use of multivitamins, there
is an important public health message in this study, said the authors.
- Speculating on what the biological reasons might be,
the researchers mentioned various previous studies that taken as a whole
reveal a conflicting picture. For example, some studies on folic acid suggested
it increases breast cancer risk while others suggested it has no effect
and may even decrease it.
- In the meantime, Larsson recommends women eat a healthy
and varied diet instead of using pills to get the nutrients they need.
- "Multivitamin use and breast cancer incidence in
a prospective cohort of Swedish women."
- Susanna C Larsson, Agneta Åkesson, Leif Bergkvist,
and Alicja Wolk
- Am J Clin Nutr Published online 24 March 2010.
- Related article:
- Multivitamins Don't Change Cancer Or Heart Risk In Postmenopausal
- Sources: AJCN, Reuters, MNT Archives.
- Written by: Catharine Paddock, PhD
- Copyright: Medical News Today
- Article URL: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/183880.php