According to Eric Jacobs, a senior epidemiologist and vitamin specialist with the American Cancer Society, “There is no vitamin or mineral supplement proven to reduce the risk of cancer.”

A string of negative results summarized in an Associated Press story are depressing.

  • 50 mg a per day of alpha-tocopherol, a form of vitamin E, had no effect on lung cancer incidence
  • 20 mg of beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, was associated with an 18% increase in lung cancer incidence in smokers
  • Beta-carotene had no effect on the incidence of lung cancer in non-smokers, or in prostate or breast cancer
  • Vitamin B2 and niacin had no impact on the occurrence of cancers
  • Selenium did not decrease skin cancer in people with a history of that disease
  • A low-dose vitamin A derivative did not prevent head and neck tumors
  • Calcium and vitamin D supplements didn’t cut the odds of developing breast cancer

Maybe the wrong doses were studied. For now, these are the latest data.

6/25/06 21:21 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.