ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
The Zen Way to Pain Relief
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
Ginkgo No Shield Against Alzheimer's
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Safe Toys for Dogs
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Scientists ID New Genes Tied to Crohn's Disease
Sea Worm Inspires Novel Bone Glue
Too Few Screened for Abdominal Aneurysm, Study Says
CANCER
Sharing Cancer Info May Be Empowering
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
Mineral May Reduce High-Risk Bladder Disease
CAREGIVING
Exercise During Pregnancy May Help Baby
Health Tip: Benefitting From Adult Day Care
Hispanic Children More Likely to Have Hearing Loss
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Health Tip: After Liposuction
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
DIABETES
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
DIET, NUTRITION
Asparagus May Ease Hangover
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Fruit Even Healthier Than Thought: Study Shows
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Bed Bugs Bring No Disease Danger
Air Pollution May Cause Appendicitis: Study Reveals
Old-Growth Forests Dying Off in U.S. West
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Test Could Spot Diabetes Vision Trouble Early
When Gauging Age, the Eyes Have It
Magnetic Pulses to Brain Improve Lazy Eye in Adults
FITNESS
You Can Get Great Exercise In The Garden
Exercise Keeps the Brain Young
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Proven Strategies for Avoiding Colds and the Flu
Lack of Vitamin D Linked to High Blood Pressure
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Irregular Heartbeat Tied to Alzheimer's Disease
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
St. John's Wort Doesn't Work for ADHD
Frequent Feedings May Be Making Babies Fat
MEN'S HEALTH
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
MENTAL HEALTH
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
Optimism May Boost Immune System
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
Boost In Elderly Population Will Be Felt Worldwide
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
Health Tip: Be More Comfortable During Childbirth
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Add your Article

Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Women who take multivitamin tablets along with calcium supplements seem to have a reduced risk of developing breast cancer, new research suggests.

The authors of the study, which is to be presented Sunday at the American Association for Cancer Research annual conference in Washington, D.C., did not separate out which specific vitamins might be beneficial but suggested that the interactions of different vitamins together might account for the beneficial effect.

"The effect was seen with multivitamins, not with single vitamins," said study co-author Dr. Jaime Matta, a professor of pharmacology, physiology and toxicology at Ponce School of Medicine in Ponce, Puerto Rico. "It's possible that the vitamins work better together than individually."

"We found that taking multivitamins and calcium supplements were strongly protective against breast cancer," said Dr. Manuel Bayona, a professor in the public health program at the Ponce School of Medicine. "Which vitamins exactly? We don't know because they were multivitamins."

The findings, however, do seem to contradict previous reports that the supplement forms of various single vitamins including E and C don't prevent breast cancer in women. Other studies have suggested a protective effect for individual vitamins.

The new study won't do much to settle that confusion, one expert said. "The results are interesting but it's a small study," said Joanne Dorgan, an epidemiologist with Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. "At this point in time, most of the big studies don't support an association."

For this study, the authors compared vitamin and calcium intakes of 268 women with breast cancer and 457 women without breast cancer, all in Puerto Rico.

They also measured the ability of the women's DNA to repair itself, a function that is critical to keeping cancer at bay.

"We've known that DNA repair capacity is linked to several other types of cancer," said Matta. "DNA repair capacity is very, very linked to breast cancer risk."

Here, women who were older, had low DNA repair capacity levels, a family history of breast cancer and who had not breast-fed all had a higher risk of breast cancer.

Taking a multivitamin tablet reduced the risk of tumors by about 30 percent, while calcium supplements reduced the risk by 40 percent, the study authors noted.

But when the DNA repair capacity was taken out of the equation, calcium was no longer protective, strongly suggesting that calcium's protective effect came only from its influence on DNA repair.

Vitamins, on the other hand, seemed to have a beneficial effect even beyond contributions to DNA repair, the researchers said.

One drawback of the study is that the authors did not measure women's actual vitamin levels, instead relying on responses to questionnaires. Participants most likely bought widely available brands at chain drug stores. "People here usually don't have access to very sophisticated health food stores or specialty vitamin stores," noted Matta.

The study authors are now looking at ways to use DNA repair capacity function as a marker for breast cancer risk, much like cholesterol is used as a marker for heart disease.

"We're developing new technology that would make measuring DNA repair capacity more inexpensive, faster and easier to do," Matta said.

Still, another expert said the new study was less than convincing.

"The totality of the evidence to date does not support taking vitamins and calcium for breast cancer prevention," said Marji McCullough, strategic director of nutritional epidemiology for the American Cancer Society. "There are other reasons women may wish to take calcium, for example for bone health."

SOURCES: Jaime Matta, Ph.D., professor, pharmacology, physiology and toxicology, Ponce School of Medicine, Ponce, Puerto Rico; Manuel Bayona, M.D., Ph.D., professor, Public Health Program, Ponce School of Medicine, Ponce, Puerto Rico; Joanne Dorgan, Ph.D., epidemiologist, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia; Marji McCullough, Sc.D., R.D., strategic director, nutritional epidemiology, American Cancer Society; April 18, 2010, presentation, American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting, Washington, D.C. Published on: April 19, 2010