Dietary approaches to reduce the risk of cancer should focus on nutrient-rich foods and not supplements, scientists from MD Anderson Cancer Center have stated.
“Researchers are still unsure about whether or not minerals, herbs and other plants taken in pill, capsule, tablet or liquid form actually prevent cancer,” said Sally Scroggs, health education manager at UT MD Anderson’s Cancer Prevention Center.
Scroggs recommended foods packed with nutrients such as beta-carotene, selenium, lycopene, resveratrol, and vitamins A, C, and E, rather than supplements. The Center cited null results from studies such as the Women's Health Study and The Physicians' Health Study II.
“If you eat lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans, you should get the nutrients, including fiber, 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.”
The Center did acknowledge a “few examples of when supplements may be appropriate”, including pregnant or breastfeeding women, over-50s, vegans, and people at risk of vitamin D deficiency, B12 deficiency, and osteoporosis.