A new study claims that daily multivitamin usage reduces the risk of cancer in men. Let’s have a look at what’s up with it.
Tough Times In The Vitamin Business
Already months ago I summarized that the usage of multivitamins could at best be doing nothing for and at worst potentially harm you.
The scientific evidence is so solid, that even the usually rather business-friendly Forbes magazine felt compelled to remark about a “bad week for the nutritional supplement industry”. Other publications followed suit.
That isn’t good news for any company selling vitamin supplements. They needed a counterpoint and it came in a study now published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It found usage of multivitamins “modestly but significantly reduced the risk of total cancer.”
No Effect On Most Common Cancers?
I won’t bore you with my numbing analysis of the statistical methods used, but that careful wording above does stand out.
When you go through the study’s details, you’ll discover that there was no significant effect of a daily multivitamin on prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, other site-specific cancers and the risk of cancer mortality.
Yet prostate and colorectal cancer are the most common types of cancer found in men – if the multivitamins had no effect on these, on what exactly did they have an effect on?
Who Sponsored The Study?
What really got me to wonder was a look at the financial disclosures that have to be stated at the end of any study. These were a long read.
The study and its authors were supported by the BASF Corporation, Pfizer Inc., DSM Nutritional Products Inc., the Tomato Products Wellness Council, Cambridge Theranostics Ltd., Cognis Corporation, Pronova BioPharma, Pharmavit, the Aurora Foundation, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, AstraZeneca, Novartis, the Natural Source Vitamin E Association and Bayer Healthcare. One author also has a consulting agreement with Merck, Inc.
It might be entirely innocent, but it’s half the who is who in vitamin supplements manufacturers.
Picture courtesy of Erich Ferdinand.