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B Vitamins Provide Cancer Protection for Seniors

A study published in the November 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that daily supplementation of B vitamins may reduce the risk of cancer among women over the age of 65.

The study included 5,442 women with a mean age of 63. All of the participants either had cardiovascular disease or were at high risk for developing cardiovascular disease.

The long term study ran for seven years and during that time half of the women received daily supplementation of B vitamins and the other half received a placebo. The supplementation consisted of folic acid (2.5 mg), vitamin B6 (50 mg) and B12 (1 mg).

A total of 379 cases of invasive cancer were diagnosed over the course of the study. Researchers identified that participants over the age of 65 who took the B vitamin supplement saw a significant reduction of cancer risk compared to the control group. Specifically, the women who took B vitamins were 25 percent less likely to develop invasive cancer and 35 percent less likely to develop breast cancer.

In addition to cancer protection, B vitamins are essential to overall body health. That's why many milk and flour products are now fortified with them. B vitamins promote cell growth, support metabolism and lower the risk of Alzheimer's and certain cancers. Deficiencies in B vitamins have been linked to brain shrinkage, high homocysteine levels and birth defects.

To get more of these essential vitamins try increasing your consumption through supplementation or by eating more vitamin B rich foods. Some foods rich in B vitamins include broccoli, asparagus, potatoes, tuna and salmon.
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