Vitamin E and Selenium Supplements Can Increase Prostate Cancer Risk – A study has found many lifestyle factors that increase the risk of cancer, but one that raises doubts is vitamin E supplementation.

Vitamin E is believed to help maintain healthy skin and eyes, and strengthen the body’s natural defenses against disease and infection or the immune system.

People can get a large intake of vitamin E through the food they eat. A lot of evidence shows that this method is the safest.

Studies conducted in the 80’s and 90’s show that vitamin E and selenium respectively provide protection against prostate cancer.

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The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT) was started in 2001 to further investigate the findings. This experiment involved 36 thousand healthy middle-aged volunteers and divided into 4 groups.

Illustration of vitamin E (Pixabay)
Illustration of vitamin E (Pixabay)

Everyone from each group was asked to take two pills a day, namely 400 international units (IU) of vitamin E plus 200 micrograms of selenium, vitamin E plus a placebo, selenium plus a placebo or two placebos.

Although the trial was supposed to last until 2011, it was discontinued 3 years early because neither vitamin E nor selenium showed any benefit.

Reported from Express, sA 2014 report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute provides further clarification.

A team of researchers from across the US specifically looked at nearly 5,000 volunteers who submitted toenail clippings when they took part in the trial.

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Nail clippings are a great way to measure how much selenium is in a man’s (or woman’s) body.

Studies show that taking vitamin E alone increases the risk of developing high-grade prostate cancer, but only in men starting the study with low levels of selenium.

They also found that consumption of selenium alone or in combination with vitamin E increased the risk of high-grade prostate cancer in men.

Meanwhile, men who did not consume vitamin E or selenium and men with high levels of selenium at the start of the study were not at risk of developing prostate cancer.

“I advise all my patients to completely avoid dietary supplements containing selenium or vitamin E, including multivitamins,” says prostate cancer expert Doctor Marc Garnick, professor of clinical medicine at Harvard Medical School, an oncologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

On the other hand, the NHS explains that prostate cancer usually doesn’t cause any symptoms until the cancer has grown large enough to put pressure on the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the urethra.

Symptoms of prostate cancer can include:

  1. Want to urinate more often, especially at night
  2. Frequently rushing to the toilet
  3. Difficulty urinating (hesitance)
  4. Straining or taking a long time to urinate
  5. Feeling that your bladder has not completely emptied
  6. Blood in urine or blood in semen