A study published in the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology (CJPP) finds that regular use of vitamin and mineral supplements could reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Researchers studied rats that were fed a high-fat diet (20 percent fat) over a 32 week period. The rats were divided into six groups which were each exposed to different combinations of supplements and carcinogens, with the colon carcinogenisis introduced in the study rats having characteristics mimicking human colon cancer.

The findings revealed rats fed a high-fat, low-fiber diet and exposed to carcinogens developed pre-cancerous lesions, whereas rats in similar circumstances who were given daily multivitamin and mineral supplements showed an 84 percent reduction in the formation of pre-cancerous lesions and did not develop tumors.

The study authors therefore concluded that “multivitamin and mineral supplements synergistically contribute to the cancer chemopreventative potential, and hence, regular supplements of multivitamins and minerals could reduce the risk of colon cancer.”

Dr. Grant Pierce, editor of CJPP, said in a press release, “It has been unclear whether multivitamin supplementation to cancer patients is helpful, has no effect, or is even detrimental during therapy. This study is important because it gives some direction to cancer patients in desperate need of guidance on the value of multivitamins and minerals administered during cancer.”