Multivitamins are typically what we pop when our immune system is feeling a little down and out. However, as it turns out, they’re fighting off more than a cold.

The Journal of the American Medical Association released a study that suggests a simple Centrum Silver vitamin may prevent cancer.

Many of us see taking vitamins as just part of our normal morning routine, like brushing our teeth. We’ve incorporated the activity into our lives since childhood — Flintstone vitamins, anyone? — and we carry the habit into adulthood. And it’s a great habit to have.

Researchers studied 15,000 middle-aged men (age 50 and older) for the course of around 11 years. During that time, some were given multivitamins, while others were given placebo.

A placebo is a sugar pill with no side effects, typically used as a control in scientific studies.

Throughout the study, the subjects were asked questions about their health and their compliance with the study — because let’s face it, even the best of us have said we took a vitamin when we really didn’t. Oops.

After factoring in the details, the study found that chances of cancer actually went down among the men who took a multivitamin. There was a reduction in total cancers of eight percent.

Unfortunately, researchers can’t explain multivitamins’ effect on cancer just yet. Researcher Howard Sesso, ScD, MPH, an epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School says, “We don’t know exactly how it works.”

The main assumption is that the regular intake of vitamins and minerals mirror the ingredients of a healthy diet — something not all of us have.

However, this study leaves a lot unanswered. What about multivitamins effects on middle-aged women? Or both genders below the age of 50? But it’s encouraging to see that they are lowering cancer risks in older men. Especially when one in 263 males will develop testicular cancer — a disease that’s primarily found in middle-aged men.

So how long do you need to take multivitamins for the cancer prevention to kick in?

Sesso says, “It looks like you need to take a multivitamin for several years if not a decade.”

Medical researchers hope more studies will be conducted on multivitamins in the future to learn more about their effects. However, until then, there’s no harm in taking them.

Regardless of vitamins potential cancer-preventing powers, adding a multivitamin to your day is only beneficial to your body. It gives you an extra dose of vitamins and minerals that are found in a desired, plant-based diet.

Hope this helps!

wenzelDr. Aaron Wenzel M.D.| Founder of Bariform

P.S. So now the question becomes how do you choose which multivitamin to take?

  • Read the label. Make sure you see which nutrients are being provided and how much of each.
  • Get your basic vitamins and minerals. Vitamin C, B1, B2, B3, B6, folic acid, B12, B5, biotin, A, E D2 or D3, K, potassium, iodine, selenium, borate, zinc, calcium, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, betacarotene, and iron are the most common.
  • For men, women, and ages. Find a multivitamin that’s designed for your needs — be it your gender or age so that you’ll get what your body is craving.
  • Don’t overdo it. Stay away from the multivitamins that give you more than daily recommendations because they can become toxic.
  • Talk to your doctor. Get recommendations from a trusted source.