Behind the headlines: The REAL story about vitamins and cancer risk

It was plastered all over the news like cheap wallpaper. Screaming headlines were everywhere warning people to stop taking their vitamins after a new study found they can supposedly cause cancer.

But you don't have to do much digging to uncover the problem with this "study," because it's a case of selective science at its absolute worst.

See, it's not a new study. In fact, it's not even a study at all. It was a presentation based on an old commentary that itself was based on old studies. And it didn't even try to be comprehensive in any way, shape or form. Of the thousands of studies on vitamins and supplements done over the years, the folks behind this one magically selected just a few to focus on.

And, wouldn't you know it, they honed in on only those studies that proved their pre-determined point.

That's not gold-standard science. It's not even silver or bronze.

It's more like a mirror, reflecting back the biases of the folks who cooked it up -- and this group is so determined to "prove" the dangers of vitamins that they relied on research that's already been discredited.

For example, one of the biggest headlines to come out of this analysis is that vitamin E can supposedly increase the risk of prostate cancer. But that's based on a flawed 2011 study that was shot down the moment it was released.

During the five-year study period, there was no increase in the risk of cancer. A full 18 months after it ended -- after the men were no longer being given supplements or placebos -- the researchers checked back with some and found an increase in risk so small it was only barely beyond the margin of error.

If you want the truth about vitamin E, check out the study conducted by Harvard University researchers last year instead, which found no link to cancer.

But somehow THAT study didn't make it into the new analysis. Neither did a 2012 study that found an ordinary daily multivitamin cuts the risk of cancer in men by 8 percent overall, and when prostate cancers were removed from the mix that number shot up to12 percent.

The folks behind the analysis say they've "proven" that it's better to get your nutrition from diet. That's like proving the Earth is round -- because no one would argue otherwise.

Of course you should get your nutrition from diet as much as possible. But the reality is that you could eat a perfect diet and still fall short in some of the essentials.

So take a quality multivitamin daily to make sure you're covered on the basics. Most people will also benefit from fish oil, vitamin D and magnesium supplements, as all three are difficult to get in helpful amounts from diet alone.

Then, work with a holistic medical doctor who can help figure out what other nutrients you may need and the best ways to get them.