Health & Wellness

“B” Careful: Supplements Linked With Lung Cancer 

Men taking vitamin B supplements are especially at risk


By Wendy Haaf

Photo: iStock/ayo888.

Attention men: Taking vitamin B6 or B12 supplements for a long period could potentially increase your risk for lung cancer, particularly if you smoke.

That finding, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology,  comes from a study using data collected on 77,118 participants aged 50 to 76 upon joining the Vitamins and Lifestyle (VITAL) cohort study between 2000 and 2002. Cancer registry records reveal that male (but not female) participants taking B6 and B12 supplements (as opposed to multivitamins) had a 30 to 40% higher incidence of lung cancer, compared with those who didn’t take the supplements.

The incidence of lung cancer among men who took the highest average dose of B6 (more than 20 mg/day) or B12 (more than 55 mg/day) was nearly twice that of non-users. Among smokers, those doses were linked with nearly triple and quadruple leaps in incidence, respectively.