Nightly News | October 17, 2012
>>> we are back with our medical news tonight, this started with a very simple question, what do multivitamins do for you? about half of all of americans take one every day. to investigate the answer, thousands of doctors were given one in a study every day for years. in this case, because they had to pick the same brand they were given centrum silver, in most cases the results turned out to be surprising.
>> reporter: some 40% of americans take a multivitamin pill, it is a multi-million dollar business. and a study out today offers strong evidence that the pill can reduce overall cancer risks, at least for middle age and older men. researchers gave almost 15,000 males either the multivitamin or the placebo. and after 11 years, those taking the vitamin had 8% less cancer of every kinds.
>> this is the only study of a multivitamin, over the standard vitamin, can prevent the standard diseases.
>> we all heard that not smoking, eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and watching weight can reduce our cancer risks, and there is lots of science to back that up. but the main reason doctors recommend multivitamins is to make sure the patients get the right type of nutrition.
>> what seems to be the same reason they take the vitamins is to stop cancer and other diseases.
>> reporter: in fact, the others show they don't reduce the risk. but this latest research shows that the multivitamin with recommended daily doses can actually help protect against cancer. robert bazell , nbc news, new york.