Can Doing This Make Men Healthier?

man taking pill

What’s something that most experts agree can make a huge difference in a man’s health?

Here’s a clue: Though it may be very small, it can pack a powerful, nutritional punch.

The answer: A multivitamin.

Taking a daily multivitamin may lower your risk of developing cancer, says a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers tracked nearly 15,000 male physicians (50 years or older) for more than a decade, asking half to take a daily multivitamin, while the others took a placebo. At the end of the study, the data showed that men who took the daily multivitamin experienced 8 percent fewer cancers than those who took the placebo.

“We specifically targeted physicians because we knew that they’d be compliant when self-reporting their data,” says study author J. Michael Gaziano, M.D., chief of the Division of Aging at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “Not to mention we were able to verify their reporting against medical records.”

Although Dr. Gaziano’s study doesn’t quite explain how a multivitamin every day protects you from the perils of cancer, it’s consistent with previous research that shows diets high in vitamins and minerals are linked to lower rates of cancer.

Of course, a pill can only take you so far. You’re much better off practicing the usual healthy habits—nixing harmful vices like smoking and excess boozing, eating right, and exercising—if you want to ward off cancer.

If you eat a balanced diet, you should get most of the nutrients you need without relying on supplements. But if your diet doesn’t provide you with the proper nutrients you need, make multivitamins a part of your daily regimen, Dr. Gaziano says.