Natural Products Association Challenges New Study on Lung Cancer and Vitamin Use

WASHINGTON, May 21, 2007 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- In comments from Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs, the Natural Products Association is questioning the findings being reported at the American Thoracic Society 2007 International Conference, on Monday, May 21, suggesting that taking supplemental multivitamins, vitamin C and E and folate do not decrease the risk of lung cancer.

"There are several questions that need to be answered in regard to this study. First, cancer-free subjects may be taking supplements for very different reasons than cancer survivors. These factors need to be specifically addressed and controlled, which simply cannot be accomplished with a cohort study. A randomized clinical trial is needed before the data can be of any significance to the general population. The data is ambitious and must be compared with all data outside of the study to accurately reflect the state of the science which the majority demonstrates a positive effect of vitamins E and C and folate on chronic disease," said Fabricant.

"Secondly, as with any retrospective cohort study based on a questionnaire, there is no way to really ensure the survey data really reflects the actual patterns of use. We already know that there are problems with supplement use being reported to health care practitioners; this study gives no indication to the contrary."

"Lastly, there are obviously other significant differences between the case and control populations that will not be addressed in a questionnaire that may attribute additional risk for incidence of chronic disease. Drawing a conclusion on chronic disease without all the pertinent information available is ill-considered and potentially misleading to the population. Especially considering the potential protective benefit nutrients may have on chronic disease and other forms of cancer," Fabricant said.

The Natural Products Association ( is the nation's largest and oldest non-profit organization dedicated to the natural products industry. The association represents nearly 10,000 retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of natural products, including foods, dietary supplements, and health and beauty aids.

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