27, 2009 (foodconsumer.org) -- Taking certain nutrient supplements like
beta-carotene and some other carotenoids-containing dietary supplements may
raise the risk of lung cancer, particularly in smokers, a study published in
the Feb 2009 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests.
study led by Jessie Satia, Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel
Hill and colleagues also examined the possible effect of retinol, vitamin A,
lycopene and lutein and found smokers who took supplements of these types were
at higher risk of lung cancer compared to the general population.
the study, the researchers surveyed more than 77,000 men and women aged 50 to
76 in Western Washington State for their habits of using dietary supplements
over a period of 10 years and the data on the rates of lung cancer came from
the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results cancer registry.
found the smokers' risk of developing lung cancer increased with the length of
time they took nutrient supplements like beta-carotene, retinol and
The longer they took dietary
supplements, the higher the risk of lung cancer for smokers.
use of retinol and lutein supplements for a period of four years or longer was
associated with increases in lung cancer risk of 53 percent and 102 percent,
respectively. But the risk for nonsmokers could not be determined because there
were not enough lung cancer cases among nonsmokers.
clinical trials have found that high doses of beta carotene seemed to raise the
risk of lung cancer, Satia said. However, the risk for nonsmokers could not be
determined because lung cancer cases among nonsmokers were small.
and carotenoids are present in fruit and vegetables which have been linked to
low incidence of cancer.
Because of the
link, scientists suspected that high doses of certain nutrients may help
The current study suggests
that that may not necessarily be the case.
health observer at foodconsumer.org suggests that the study merely found an
association between taking dietary supplements and lung cancer risk, meaning
that taking these dietary supplements may not necessarily be the cause for the
increased risk of lung cancer in smokers.
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