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Three top nutrients for preventing cancer

Top trio for cancer prevention

Q: What are some easy additions to my diet that I can make to prevent cancer?

Dr. Wright: There are lots of things you can do to help prevent cancer, but the three most important nutrients in any cancer prevention program are folic acid, vitamin B12, and zinc.

You probably already know about some of their individual health-promoting actions, but as a trio, these nutrients play a key role in DNA reproduction and repair. And cancer is often the result of damage to DNA (by a carcinogen or some other means) that isn’t repaired (or isn’t repaired adequately), allowing for reproduction of abnormal cells and tissues.

Make sure to take folic acid (1-5 milligrams daily), vitamin B12 (500-2,000 micrograms daily), and zinc (30 milligrams of zinc picolinate, along with 2 milligrams of copper daily). These are very safe vitamins, so take the higher quantities if you’re past 65 and/or if you know you have digestive/absorptive difficulties.

Keep in mind that there’s never a 100 percent guarantee: You won’t prevent every cancer with folic acid, vitamin B12, and zinc. Other dietary measures, individual nutrients, and exercise are important, too. But there’s no doubt that this trio of nutrients will help reduce your risk of cancer considerably.