A new study has revealed that taking a multivitamin pill may reduce the chances of cancer.

The trial is the first of its type, trialling individuals in an attempt to decipher the long-term benefits of taking the multivitamin tablet.

Chances of developing the disease are thought to be cut by eight per cent in men if the pill is taken regularly, the research says.

Results for women are less clear as only men were examined, but the experts involved in the experiment believe that women should experience similar benefits from taking the multivitamin pill.

The study was carried out at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in Boston, and Harvard Medical School, where nearly 15,000 doctors took part in the experiment.

Exactly what reduces the risk of the disease is yet to be known. All that is known is that a combination of the components in the multivitamin tablet does appear to have cancer-preventing properties.

People take multivitamins for a number of reasons, with the majority of people using them for an everyday nutritional boost.

This study has revolutionised the purpose of multivitamins.

"Although the main reason to take multivitamins is to prevent nutritional deficiency, these data provide support for the potential use of multivitamin supplements in the prevention of cancer in middle-aged and older men," said the study.

The Daily Mail explains how many were involved in the experiment and what it entails, explaining that it "included 14,641 male physicians, initially aged 50 years or older, including 1,312 men with a history of cancer at the start of the study in 1997, with treatment and follow-up through to 2011".

Participants had a multivitamin pill every day for an average of 11.2 years.

"Analysis of the data found men taking a multivitamin had a modest 8 per cent reduction in total cancer incidence, including colorectal, lung and bladder. There was no statistically significant effect on deaths from cancer," it says.

Posted by Freya Harper