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Vitamin supplements protect against colon cancer

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Multivitamin and minerals protect you against colon cancer – but only when you take supplements. Hoping to get all the nutrients we need from a ‘balanced diet’ just isn’t good enough, despite what the doctor may say.
The supplements almost halve the risk, and help the immune system ward off carcinogens, or cancer-causing agents, say researchers from the King Saudi University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Although the results are based on tests with laboratory rats, the characteristics of colon cancer are similar to those found in humans. Two groups of rats were fed high-fat, low-fibre diets, but one was also given multivitamin and mineral supplements every day over a 32-week period.
Both groups were exposed to carcinogens, but only the non-supplement group developed pre-cancerous lesions; the supplement group had almost no lesions, and none developed into tumours.
The researchers believe the supplements worked synergistically to create a protective effect that would not be possible from eating a balanced diet, because much of the food we eat is depleted of nutrients, they say.
In an accompanying editorial, Dr Grant Pierce says the study points the way forward for everyone with cancer.
(Source: Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, 2012; 90: 45-54).

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