NUTRITION&FOOD Published April26, 2015 By Milafel Hope Dacanay

Too Much Supplementation Can Increase Cancer Risk, Study Says

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Study Shows Many Store Brand Supplements Do Not Contains
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Too much of something is bad regardless of what it contains. Take, for example, supplements. According to a long-term study, taking more than what you should every day can only increase your risk of cancer and heart disease.

A team of researchers from the University of Colorado led by Tim Byers, the university's scientist and cancer prevention expert, conducted a comprehensive study covering thousands of people in USA and Finland for over two decades. The goal is to determine whether supplements can also have the same effect as eating fruits, vegetables, and other types of healthy food.

Traces of fibers and nutrients were known to protect the body from cancer if they are derived from food that should be eaten regularly. They also discovered that those who ate more fruits and vegetables had less cancer. In supplements that also contained similar traces, the group first tested them in animal models. The results were good. However, the positive effects of the supplements were not replicated as soon as they were tested on humans.

One of the interesting discoveries is that the overconsumption of beta carotene, a kind of antioxidant that is usually associated with better vision, can lead to an increase in lung cancer risk by as much as 28% in the USA and 18% in Finland. Too much vitamin E, meanwhile, can boost the risk of prostate cancer by 17%. Even selenium can be harmful by increasing squamous cell cancer of the skin by more than 23%.

Overall, too much supplementation can make you more prone to cancer and cardiovascular disease by 20%.

Although the researchers want to stress that the risk increases only if the person over-supplements, they still encourage everyone to get their recommended daily dose of vitamins, minerals, and fiber from eating the right kinds of food. The recommended serving is 5 to 8 every day. 

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