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Supplements Meant to Prevent Prostate Cancer Can Actually Increase Risk — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
February 24, 2014

Supplements Meant to Prevent Prostate Cancer Can Actually Increase Risk

By Joe Elia

The suspected deleterious effect of supplementing men's diets with selenium or vitamin E in an effort to prevent prostate cancer has apparently been confirmed. The findings appear in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Researchers examined data from the SELECT trial, which examined whether supplemental selenium, vitamin E, or both could lower prostate risk. They found that men with low baseline selenium levels (as measured in toenail samples) did not benefit from selenium supplements alone or combined with vitamin E. And in fact, those with higher baseline selenium showed a significantly increased risk for high-grade prostate cancer with selenium supplementation.

For their part, vitamin E supplements alone had no effect in men with higher baseline selenium levels, but they increased risks for all grades of prostate cancer among those with lower baseline selenium.

The authors conclude that men over 55 should avoid both selenium and vitamin E supplements that exceed recommended dietary levels.

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