NIH-funded study shows increased prostate cancer risk from vitamin E supplements

9:19 am Health Care, Medicine

Men who took 400 international units (IU) of vitamin E daily had more prostate cancers compared to men who took a placebo, according to an updated review of data from the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT).

Per 1,000 men, there were 76 prostate cancers in men who took only vitamin E supplements, vs 65 in men on placebo over a seven-year period, or 11 more cases of prostate cancer per 1,000 men. This represents a 17 percent increase in prostate cancers relative to those who took a placebo. This difference was statistically significant.

The results of this update appeared Oct. 12, 2011 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Based on these results and the results of large cardiovascular studies using vitamin E, there is no reason for men in the general population to take the dose of vitamin E used in SELECT as the supplements have shown no benefit and some very real risks.

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