CRN Urges Caution When Interpreting New Study on B Vitamins

Washington, D.C., August 22, 2017In response to a study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, “Long-term Supplemental One-carbon Metabolism Related Vitamin B Use in Relation to Lung Cancer Risk in the VITamins And Lifestyle (VITAL) cohort,” published online today, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association for the dietary supplement and functional food industry, issued the following statement:

Statement by Duffy MacKay, N.D., senior vice president, scientific & regulatory affairs, CRN:

“We urge consumers to resist the temptation to allow sensational headlines from this new study to alter their use of B vitamins, especially without further understanding of the nature of this study and a conversation with their healthcare practitioners. The numerous benefits of B vitamins from food and dietary supplements, including supporting cognition, heart health, and energy levels, are well-established, and this study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology doesn’t change those facts. Additionally, this observational study doesn’t prove causality between B vitamins and lung cancer risk, and in actuality, has some significant limitations to consider.

Those limitations include the dependence on the ability of the study population, ages 50–76 years old, to remember and accurately report what they consumed over a ten-year period prior to the start of the study. Further, the results of this study conflict with the results of previous studies, including a randomized control trial as well as two studies that measured vitamin B6 serum levels and demonstrated reduction in lung cancer risk. Due to the limitations and its misalignment with the greater body of scientific evidence, the study should be interpreted with caution.

For consumers, the key takeaway from this study is that smokers have a higher risk of lung cancer than non-smokers. If you have concerns about lung cancer or B vitamins, we recommend talking with your doctor or other healthcare practitioner. We remind consumers that dietary supplements are intended to supplement, not replace, a healthy diet. They cannot—and will not—reverse the potential harm from unhealthy behavior, such as smoking."

Note to Editor: The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing 150+ dietary supplement and functional food manufacturers, ingredient suppliers, and companies providing services to those manufacturers and suppliers.  In addition to complying with a host of federal and state regulations governing dietary supplements and food in the areas of manufacturing, marketing, quality control and safety, our manufacturer and supplier members also agree to adhere to additional voluntary guidelines as well as to CRN’s Code of Ethics. Visit Follow us on Twitter @CRN_Supplements and LinkedIn