Can Multivitamins Cause Lung Cancer?

Updated at: Aug 13, 2012
Can Multivitamins Cause Lung Cancer?

Can Multivitamins Cause Lung Cancer? – Are multivitamins cancer-causing? Learn about the correlation between multivitamin and cancer risk.

Himanshu Sharma
CancerWritten by: Himanshu SharmaPublished at: Aug 13, 2012

Innumerable benefits of multivitamins are known to everyone, but it is also referred to as a cause of lung cancer sometimes. However, there is no conclusive study to point out multivitamins as the cause of lung cancer.


The most prominent cause of lung cancer is smoking, whereas multivitamins do not cause lung cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, the likelihood of developing lung cancer is greater for an individual who smokes and take beta-carotene supplements.

Multivitamins and Lung Cancer

  • A study conducted by National Public Health Institute in Finland assigned 29,000 male smoker participants to receive daily doses of beta-carotene, vitamin E, both or a placebo. The study conducted between 1985 and 1993 found that the smokers or former smokers or workers exposed to asbestos were more at risk of lung cancer than others.
  • Multivitamins are a mix of nutrients (vitamins and minerals). So, it is difficult to pinpoint which nutrient or a combination triggers lung cancer.
  • Multivitamins provide important nutrients to the body organs so that they can perform functions, but the effect these vitamins might have on various cancers has not been fully determined.
  • If you’re on multivitamin supplements, the best approach to prevent lung cancer is by giving up smoking. Moreover, avoid second hand smoke and be cautious if you are working close to fumes and dust. Any contact with radon, increases the chances of getting lung cancer. Individuals working in radon mines should be careful with multivitamin intake. Please keep in mind that multivitamins are not of muchhelp when you're sick, as your body may reject vitamins and minerals.

Research Reports

Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technologies (CARET) study concluded that vitamin A, also called retinol, and beta-carotene are antioxidants that were responsible for preventing carcinogens from damaging DNA and cells. Study further shows that adverse health risks came from beta-carotene and not from vitamin A.
Multivitamins and Other Cancer Forms

  • A study published in Journal of the National Cancer Institute associated excessive multivitamin use to the increased risk of advanced and fatal prostate cancer, if individuals add zinc supplements to heavy multivitamins.
  • August 2010 publication of Journal of Clinical Oncology related multivitamins to colon cancer risk. However, the report was inconclusive multivitamin affecting cancer patients or chemotherapy treatment.
  • A research report published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition although established connection between multivitamins with breast cancer risk, but it remained unclear of how multivitamins play role in the development and treatment of breast cancer.


Multivitamins are the dietary supplements that are available in several forms in marketplace, as tablet, as capsule or as pill. These serve different purposes for different individuals. However, you must consult a doctor before taking multivitamins, as your body may not respond to multivitamins in a positive manner.


Read more articles on Lung Cancer



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