advertisement
30 August 2010

Food trumps supplements

Nutritional supplements may be popular, but experts warn that people need to educate themselves and use caution when using these products to try to reduce their risk of cancer.

0

Nutritional supplements are popular, but people need to educate themselves and use caution when using these products to try to reduce their risk of cancer, says a University of Texas expert. 

"Researchers are still unsure about whether or not minerals, herbs and other plants taken in pill, capsule, tablet or liquid form actually prevent cancer," Sally Scroggs, health education manager at the Cancer Prevention Centre at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Medical Centre, said in a news release from the centre. 

Vitamins E and C, for example, were found not to prevent cancer in the large-scale Women's Health Study and the Physicians' Health Study II. Findings from other studies suggest that some supplements may actually increase cancer risk by affecting the balance of nutrients in the body.

Pills can't replace healthy diet

"If you eat lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans, you should get the nutrients, including fibre, vitamins and minerals, your body needs to lower your chances of getting diseases like cancer," Scroggs said. "Taking a pill can't replace a healthy diet."

She suggested eating plenty of foods loaded with cancer-fighting nutrients such as beta-carotene, selenium, lycopene, resveratrol and vitamins A, C and E. 

While Scroggs does advise caution, there are some situations where taking supplements may benefit people, especially those who aren't getting enough nutrients due to food allergies, genetics or chronic illnesses, she said. 

This includes women who are pregnant or breast-feeding; people at risk for vitamin D deficiency or osteoporosis; and people at risk for B-12 deficiency, including those aged 50 and older and vegans who consume no animal products. 

Scroggs concluded that if you're considering taking supplements, consult with a doctor or registered dietician first. (August 2010)


(Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.)

 
NEXT ON HEALTH24X
advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Dangerous winter sun »

Why female students ignore the risks of indoor tanning Can rooibos protect you from the effects of UVB exposure?

Skin cancer always a risk – even in winter

During winter, the risk of skin cancer doesn’t disappear. CyberDoc talks to us about when to see your doctor about a strange-looking mole or spot.

Did you know? »

The 5 saltiest foods may surprise you Craving salt? Your genes may be the reason

10 fascinating facts about salt

The one thing that fast foods, whether it be chips, hamburgers, pretzels or fried chicken have in common, is loads of salt.