But cause-and-effect not clear, and supplements are no excuse to keep smoking, experts say
TUESDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- A new study shows that people with high levels of a B vitamin are half as likely as others to develop lung cancer. But while the reduction in risk is significant, this doesn't mean that smokers should hit the vitamin aisle instead of quitting.
While the study links vitamin B6, as well as one amino acid, to fewer cases of lung cancer, it doesn't conclude that consuming the nutrients will reduce the risk. Future research is needed to confirm that there's a cause-and-effect relationship at work, not just an association, researchers said.
The research "may lead to important new discoveries. But people should not think that they can pop a few vitamins and be safe smoking," stressed Dr. Norman Edelman, the American Lung Association's chief medical officer.
The findings appear in the June 16 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The researchers examined a study of almost 520,000 Europeans who were recruited between 1992 and 2000. They compared 899 who developed lung cancer by 2006 to 1,770 similarly matched people who hadn't developed the disease.
The researchers found that those with the highest levels of vitamin B6 in their blood were 56 percent less likely to have developed lung cancer than those with the lowest levels. There was a similar difference -- a 48 percent decline -- for those with the highest levels of methionine, an amino acid, compared to those with the lowest concentrations.
The reductions in risk held up for both smokers and non-smokers, said study co-author Paul Brennan, a researcher with the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France.
Normally, as many as 15 percent of lifetime smokers will develop lung cancer, but fewer than 1 percent of those who never smoke do
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