Men who take vitamin B supplements at greater risk of lung cancer. (Photo: Pexels)
A new study's findings challenge vitamin B supplements' alleged health benefits after discovering it puts men at higher risk of developing lung cancer.
Men who take high doses of vitamins B6 or B12 for a long time are particularly at risk of the disease, the Daily Mail reported.
These vitamins help red blood cells to process proteins, fat and carbohydrate. While they are found in meat, fish, cheese, eggs, milk and cereals, many people resort to taking supplements that are marketed as energy-boosting products, the report revealed.
American researchers examined 77,000 people aged between 50 and 76 for the study called Vital, with the aim to understand the impact vitamins and minerals have on cancer risk.
Data was collected of participants' vitamin B use and dose amount taken over 10 years. The team found men who took high doses of these vitamins over the years were at higher risk of cancer.
Smokers who took more than 20mg of B6 per day were three times more likely to develop lung cancer. The risk was greater for male smokers taking at least 55 micrograms of B12 per day.
Lead author of the study Dr Theodore Brasky, of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Centre told the Daily Mail, "In fact, all men who used these supplements in high doses for a decade had approximately double the risk developing lung cancer, and in men who smoked, the risk was three to four times as great." Adding, vitamin B supplements contain "much, much higher than the daily recommended amount".
He recommends not taking these kinds of supplements, as you can naturally get vitamin B from consuming meats, chickpeas and cereal.
The risk for women who took the supplements was not the same, researchers found. Further research is needed to determine whether the effect is the same for post-menopausal women.
UK's National Health Service recommended dose:
* 1.4mg a day for men
* 1.2mg a day for women
* 1.5mcg a day
The research was originally published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.