According to a new study published in Cancer Causes Control, supplementation with antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E is strongly associated with lower levels of colon cancer.  The researchers also found that folate, a B vitamin is associated with lower cancer risk as well.

Dr. Stephanie Smith-Warner, an associate professor of nutritional epidemiology at Harvard Medical School said, “Total intake of vitamins A, C, and E were associated with a 24 to 30% lower risk of colon cancer.  After adjusting for other colon cancer risks, the inverse associations for total intake of vitamin A, C, and E remained statistically significant.”

The new findings follow a report recently published that patients using multivitamins during and after treatment for colon cancer did not reduce the risk of cancer returning or the risk of mortality.  It should be noted that most multivitamins contain the minimum daily requirement for adults, not optimal disease fighting levels.

Other studies have previously found that vitamins A, C, E, and folate were linked to the reduction of colon cancer because of their high antioxidant power and potential anticancer properties.

Other studies have not found consistent substantiation that these vitamins lower colon cancer risk.

The mission of this new research was to evaluate the associations between vitamins A, C, and E and the risk of developing colon cancer, using information obtained from 13 previous studies involving over 650,000 participants.

Multivitamin use, especially in combination with individual vitamin supplements.  Was linked to a significant reduced risk of developing colon cancer, while increase folic acid (also known as folate) intake was also related to a lower risk.

The researchers went on to say, “After adjusting for folate intake, the inverse association between total vitamin a intake and risk of colon cancer… When no longer statistically significant, whereas the inverse associations between total intake of vitamin C and E and risk of colon cancer that that that remained statistically significant.”

The authors noted that there are biological mechanisms support team.  Their results, in furring that total vitamin C and vitamin E intakes may be associated with a lower risk of colon cancer due to their ability to break free radical chain reactions and act as electron donors to reduce reactive free radicals and iron.

But the researchers concluded that the reporting relationship between vitamin C and E consumption could be also due to the vitamins.  High relationship with folate intake which also has a similar relationship associated with lower colon cancer risk.

They concluded by saying, “we cannot rule out the possibility that the apparent protective effect of total vitamin C and E intakes and of multivitamin supplement use against colon cancer would do to their positive correlations with total folate intake or intakes of other vitamins present in multivitamin such as B6.”

Source: Cancer Causes Control