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Long-Term, High-Dose Vitamin B6/B12 Use Associated With Increased Lung Cancer Risk Among Men

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Dolphin, Aug 25, 2017.

  1. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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  2. PatJ

    PatJ Forum Support Assistant

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    An important point left out of the headline is: "Male smokers taking B6 at this dose were three times more likely to develop lung cancer. Male smokers taking B12 at such doses were approximately four times more likely to develop the disease compared to non-users." (my bold)

    If the study is accurate (it hasn't been replicated) then it's still an important finding but at the moment it only relates to smokers.
     
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  3. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    The study itself says:
    So it seems that multivitamin sources of B6 or B12 are safe; this increased risk only appears when these vitamins are taken individually. One might speculate that this may be due to a vitamin imbalance caused by taking individual B vitamins.


    This paper says that the general lifetime risk of non-smokers developing lung cancer is 13/1000 for males and 14/1000 for females. So around 1 in 75 non-smokers will develop lung cancer in their life.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017
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  4. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    Abstract doesn't say risk is restricted to smokers.

     
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  5. PatJ

    PatJ Forum Support Assistant

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    Thanks for a good example of why it's important to read the study and not just a media summary. From the media summary I got the impression that only male smokers are at risk, but the study abstract explains that smokers are just at higher risk: "For vitamin B6 and B12, the risk was even higher among men who were smoking at baseline."

    Edit: Cross-posted while Dolphin was writing a reply.
     
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  6. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    One carbon metabolism allows protein modification for faster growth and repair. Cancers thrive under those conditions. Indeed some chemotherapy targets this metabolism, and so slows cancer growth. Note this is about cancer growth, not cancer initiation. If a cancer grows faster its conceivable that this will mean the immune system is less able to contain the cancer. Everyone gets cancer over time, most cancers are destroyed by the immune system before you even get symptoms.

    This does need further investigation, and until then I consider it preliminary and not conclusive.

    I am very interested in how they might account for the differences between males and females, if they can? Also how do they account for an increase in lung cancer and not other cancers?
     
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  7. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    I am not be too worried about using methylation supplements at this point. If I still responded well to methylation then the small absolute risk would probably be worth it to me, even if this research is right. However as I stopped responding to methylation the risk is something I would have to consider if I were going to start methylation again. Its still one chance in hundreds though, if my wonky math skills did not fail me. Absolute risk and relative risk are not the same.

    Putting this in perspective, a 2-4x risk for non-smokers is much smaller than about a 25x risk for smoking. For non-smokers, men also seem to have a lower risk than women for lung cancer.

    See for example https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2764546/
    The risk is very low for nonsmokers. Smokers might like to discuss this with their doctor, though its smoking that is the biggest risk.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017

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