Supplements Don't Prevent Cancer in Cardiac Patients

Dietary supplements of B vitamins, folate, omega-3 not linked to improved cancer outcomes

TUESDAY, Feb. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Daily supplementation with B vitamins and/or omega-3 fatty acids is not associated with improved cancer outcomes for survivors of cardiovascular disease, according to a study published online Feb. 13 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Valentina A. Andreeva, Ph.D., of the University of Paris XIII, and colleagues evaluated 2,501 participants (aged 45 to 80 years) from the 2003 to 2009 Supplementation with Folate, Vitamins B6 and B12 and/or Omega-3 Fatty Acids study to determine the effects of different combinations of supplements on cancer outcomes for survivors of cardiovascular disease. Participants were randomized to one of four groups: folate and B vitamins; eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acid; B vitamins and omega-3 acids; and placebo.

The researchers found that incident cancer was validated in 7.0 percent of participants after five years of supplementation (145 events in men and 29 events in women), and 2.3 percent of the sample died from cancer. The data showed no significant association between cancer outcomes and B vitamins and/or omega-3 fatty acids (hazard ratio [HR], 1.15; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.85 to 1.55 and HR, 1.17; 95 percent CI, 0.87 to 1.58, respectively). Among men, there was no effect of treatment on cancer risk, whereas for women there was an increased cancer risk for omega-3 fatty acid supplementation (HR, 3.02).

"We found no beneficial effects of supplementation with relatively low doses of B vitamins and/or omega-3 fatty acids on cancer outcomes in individuals with prior cardiovascular disease," the authors write.

The study was partially funded by the nutrition and pharmaceutical industries.

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