Taking Vitamin E increases prostate cancer risk, according to a national study of 25,000 men. Many urologists believe that it has not been proven to prevent prostate issues. The debate started when some physicians recommended the supplement to lower the risk.
However, they found it made no difference. Now, the latest results from the federal government’s largest-ever cancer prevention trial shows men taking Vitamin E actually developed more prostate cancer than those who weren’t.
“Men who took Vitamin E alone at 400 international units a day, in addition to a normal diet, were at a 17 percent higher risk of developing prostate cancer,” said Dr. Eric Klein of Cleveland Clinic, a co-author of the study.
“This is another example of, maybe there is harm from taking vitamin E, but at the very least you can say it certainly doesn’t do any good to take it,” says Dr. Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University.
The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial, or SELECT study, has looked at men 50 and above from August 2001 through July 2011. While 529 men taking a placebo wound up with prostate cancer, 620 men in the Vitamin E group ended up with prostate cancer.
With this study now following another with questions over the effectiveness of supplement use for older women, the trade group Council for Responsible Nutrition is once again defending the supplement industry touting benefits of Vitamin E use for Alzheimer’s disease and eye disease prevention.