Mumbai: A study announced last week finds that daily multivitamin and mineral supplements may reduce your risk of colon cancer.

Published in the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology (CJPP), the study found that rats given regular multivitamin and mineral supplements showed a significantly lower risk of developing colon cancer when they were exposed to carcinogens.

The authors studied rats that were fed a high-fat diet over a 32-week period. The rats were divided into six groups, which were exposed to different combinations of supplements and carcinogens. Rats fed a high-fat plus low-fiber diet and exposed to carcinogens developed pre-cancerous lesions. Meanwhile, rats undergoing similar treatment, but provided with daily multivitamin and mineral supplements, showed an 84 percent reduction in the formation of pre-cancerous lesions and did not develop tumors.

The researchers conclude that the findings could offer some direction as well for cancer patients regarding daily supplements. "It has been unclear whether multivitamin supplementation to cancer patients is helpful, has no effect, or is even detrimental during therapy," commented Dr. Grant Pierce, editor of CJPP.

Long-term use of daily vitamins and calcium supplements also appear to reduce the risk of breast cancer, according to findings in another study from the Ponce School of Medicine in Puerto Rico.