Vitamin E Supplement Increases Prostate Cancer Risk

Stephanie Stahl reports…

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A vitamin thought to prevent cancer might actually cause it. Scientists were suspicious for years, now there’s finally proof. Vitamin E does more harm than good, and men who take high doses face an increased risk of developing prostate cancer.

Ralph Sanderson was part of the government research to see if vitamin E could prevent prostate cancer.

“I had a couple of friends who had prostate cancer and I thought this would be worth doing,” said Ralph.

There had been preliminary evidence that vitamin E and selenium might reduce the risk of prostate cancer. The SELECT study of 35,000 healthy men, aimed to prove that, at a cost of 130 million dollars.

But results show men who took 400 international units of just vitamin E had a 17 percent increased risk of developing prostate cancer.

“I think it’s important that you had a trial like this that now gives us solid evidence to start looking and making reasonable recommendations to people,” said Dr. Bruce Malkowicz, a Urologist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He ran the SELECT trial locally.

“Right now I don’t think anyone would recommend using vitamin E, or a supplement like that, for prostate cancer health,” said Dr. Malkowicz.

“We really don’t know why men who took vitamin E are at higher risk of getting prostate cancer. Interestingly, men who took Vitamin E and Selenium together were not at higher risk, so there must be some interesting biology there yet, but we haven’t figured it out,” said Dr. Eric Klein, Study Researcher with the Cleveland Clinic.

The daily dose of vitamin E in the study was much more than what’s found in over-the-counter multi-vitamins.

The clinical trial also shows no benefits from taking vitamin E or selenium when it comes to lung, colorectal cancer or cardiovascular disease.

Ralph was not one who developed prostate cancer, but he, like others in the study, will continue to be followed.

Reported by Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3

More from Stephanie Stahl
  • Randy

    As the saying goes, there are lies, there are damned lies, and then there’s statistics. Stop Sen. Durbin and his SB1310 bill!

  • jacta alia est

    ““We really don’t know why men who took vitamin E are at higher risk of getting prostate cancer….”

    That kind of says it all, right there! It means that they don’t really know anything about vitamin E supplementation as a cause of disease.

  • Mac

    Don’t trust anything from the government, it’s all controlled by big business interests anyways!

  • CC

    Folks, have you noticed a lot of “studies” coming out against vitamins? you want to know why? the FDA and the drug companies want it regulated so you can’t take your own health issues into your own hands. pushing toward you needing a perscription to take vitamins. do your homework on this stuff. what isn’t mentioned here is what type of vitamin E? di-alpha acetate? or d-alpha tocopheryl succinate? one is synthetic, one is natural. google the stuff. or go by great great grandma’s advice…”too much of anything is no good for you”. most of all…don’t let these “studies” send you into panic mode . what percentage of these men smoked while taking the vitamins? what percentage worked in a Hazmat type of job? how many of these vitamin guinea pigs had excessive x-rays as young men…get the idea, studies like facts can be slanted in any direction or presented in such a way that you’d react the way the researcher conducting the study wants you to. don’t panic and take all “studies” with a grain of salt. ;)

    • Pilm

      that’s why they take a large statistical sample, because doing so *tends* to account for unknown factors.

  • Kevin

    More Quack Science about supplements.

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