Mom always said to take your vitamins. Judging by the numbers, plenty of people actually take Mom’s advice. In the United States, the vitamin industry is a $30-billion-a-year business. Millions of people take daily multivitamins in the hopes that the vitamins will fight disease, increase energy, and offer a plethora of other benefits ranging from helping our eyes to our bones to our hair and skin.
Some vitamins do even more. A handful of vitamins have been found to actually repair DNA and even fight both cancer and aging!
Carotenoids are precursors to the first vitamin in the alphabet soup of vitamins—vitamin A. They’re often called provitamin A. Carotenoids are part of the reason behind the vibrant color in plants and plant foods including beta-carotene (found in orange foods) and lycopene (found in red foods). Science has shown that carotenoids are able to stimulate the repair of DNA that may be responsible for disease and aging. Carotenoids are also antioxidants which means they help fight cancer, especially lung and prostate cancer. Some scientists believe the carotenoids are most beneficial when used proactively before cancer forms.
B Vitamins – Vitamins B3 (niacin), B9 (folate) and B12 (cobalamin):
These vitamins have been shown in some studies to be important in building DNA. People who take B9 are reported to have lower levels of colon and breast cancer. B12 is involved in nearly all cellular activity in the body including preventing gene mutations that can lead to cancer and keeping cells healthy through the aging process. Studies have found a connection between breast cancer and lower levels of B12.
Studies have pointed to a connection between vitamin D and reduced risk of certain cancers, especially colorectal cancer. A study out of Australia also suggests Vitamin D may prevent damage to DNA from the sun—damage that’s responsible for many cases of skin cancer. Scientists say there is reason to believe vitamin D is able to stabilize the structure of DNA so that it is not damaged by free radicals, which is what leads to aging and cancer-causing mutations.
Vitamin E has been shown in scientific studies to be especially potent in stopping the development of liver cancer. Studies in China found people who consumed vitamin E supplements or foods high in vitamin E such as wheat germ oil, whole grains, nuts, seeds and leafy greens, had lower levels of liver damage and liver cancer.
According to researchers, the antioxidant is able to prevent DNA damage and even repair it in some instances. Along with this, the vitamin boosts the immune system and stops cancer cells from forming.
Aging may be a part of life and exposure to toxins in daily life increase the risk of cancer, but science shows you can take simple steps to protect your DNA from damaging free radicals—and in some cases even repair damage. It’s even more proof that mother knew best when she told you to take your vitamins.