Multivitamin study 'inconsistent'

ONE of Australia’s leading natural medicine researchers, Southern Cross University’s professor Stephen Myers, has dismissed the recent findings of a study linking multivitamins with an increased risk of breast cancer as ‘scientifically inconsistent’.

The study, undertaken in Sweden by researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and published in the current issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, has received widespread media attention in Australia and overseas.

“Overall, the major findings of the Swedish study are in conflict with other large-scale studies which have reported benefits from the use of supplements in reducing the risk of breast cancer,” Professor Myers said.

Professor Myers PhD BMed ND, the director of NatMed-Research based at Southern Cross University, highlighted another recent study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research conference this week that found: ‘Vitamins and calcium intake were found to be protective reducing 30% and 40% the odds of having breast cancer respectively’.

“While the findings on vitamins were the opposite to those found in the Swedish study, it did concur with data on calcium supplements in the Swedish study which found that ‘Women who reported the use of calcium supplements had a 26% decreased risk of total breast cancer compared with non-users of calcium supplements’,” Professor Myers said.

“It is important to understand that epidemiological studies such as the reported Swedish study can only infer associations between lifestyle activities and the risk of disease but they cannot determine causality.”

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