The vitamin B Complex Group is a common vitamin supplement that many take for keeping the adrenals glands and metabolism working, improve energy, and help with staying calm. Yet, one study suggests that B 6 and B12 could be harmful.

Doe B-vitamins, in particular vitamins B6 and B12, can cause lung cancer?

There has been some confusing information indicating this may be true. Suzy Cohen, however, breaks down the study data and provides more thorough answers.

The study included adult men who were smokers that were followed over 10 years. The men answered questionnaires regarding their health, including any history of cancer, their smoking history, how much alcohol consumed, whether they used anti-inflammatory medication, and general personal health information (age, body size, etc.). The results, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, suggested that lung cancer risk increased with taking the vitamins.

Cohen disputes this research, for several reasons:

  • This was a cohort study versus a clinical trial.
  • The study was restricted to strictly adult male smokers.
  • The honesty of the participants completing the surveys is questionable.

In addition, there are two other key points that stand out in Cohen’s argument:

  • The first is that, most likely, the B vitamin supplements taken by the study participants were probably synthetic, which is true for most supplements on the market. Many of the ingredients are either inactive and pass through the body or are processed differently than those from natural sources.
  • The second point is that everyone in the study smoked. She notes that it does not matter what you do to be healthy if you are smoking. Moreover, the absorption of nicotine and other chemicals combined with the synthetic vitamins isn’t the healthiest of choices.

Instead, Cohen suggests getting your vitamins from natural sources, especially eating whole, real foods. If you take a supplement choose one that is a quality vitamin and not synthetically-based. Finally, if you do smoke, quit!

Want to learn more about the confusion regarding B vitamins? You can read the article here:  Reality Check-Do B Vitamins Cause Cancer?