Dr. Weeks’ Comment: An article that appeared in the November 14, 2012, issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine entitled “Multivitamins in the Prevention of Cancer in Men.” (There is no reason why this study’s conclusions, as is the case with most medical research, wouldn’t apply equally to women) The difference between the vitamin users and non-users was a small but definitely statistically significant reduction in cancer rates. All cancers!
“In this large prevention trial of male physicians, daily multivitamin supplementation modestly but significantly reduce the risk of total cancer.”
Persuasive to my medical colleagues? Not so. Paradigms shift slowly. A few pages later, an accompanying editorial asks, “Is It Too Soon to Tell Men That Vitamins Prevent Cancer?” Their response is the highly predictable “more studies are needed” before physicians start making multivitamin recommendations. This in the face of irrefutable evidence that we are mostly malnourished as a population (that’s correct: over fed and under nourished!) and also we are intoxicated with a variety of environmental toxins. So the logic and rationale for supplementing our suboptimal diet is clear but escapes many thought leaders in medicine. Same with the tragically delayed response regarding the need to supplement folic acid to reduce the rate of spina bifida in infants. Same with the incomprehensible delay on the part of the American Academy of Pediatrics as regards the merits of breast milk. Common sense is in flight and responsibility for disease prevention rests with the informed consumer. Our role as doctors is to educate. I support open discussion with my colleagues.