While the effectiveness of taking vitamin supplements has been questioned by medical researchers for decades, Dr. Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, a professor of epidemiology and popular health, and her colleagues at Albert Einstein College of Medicine have found that women with invasive breast cancer were "30% less likely to die of the disease if they take vitamins and minerals regularly than those who did not consume supplements.”
Their conclusions came after analyzing data amassed concerning the habits of 161,608 women between the ages of 50-79 by Women’s Health Initiative Clinical Trials and Observational studies. 7,728 of the participants developed breast cancer that spread to surrounding tissue, and about 40% of these women regularly took vitamin supplements containing 20-30 nutrients.
“Our results show there was a protective effect. Almost all these women took a multi-vitamin before they developed breast cancer, so it is not like we are saying that once you get the disease you should take them, stated Wassertheil-Smoller.
“This is very similar to a report on vitamin D, which was found to lower the risk of breast cancer recurrence,” added Dr. Janice Lu, director of medical oncology at Stony Brook University Hospital. “We always tell our patients to maintain their vitamin D level and when it’s low, we tell them they have to bring it up.”
However, Lu did admit that although they know vitamin D helps guard against a return of breast cancer, scientists are still not sure why.