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Study Finds Risk of Prostate Cancer Increased With Vitamin E Use

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The other day I wrote about the heightened risk of mortality in older women associated with taking vitamins and minerals. Now, another study is claiming that vitamin E, specifically, is linked with a higher risk of death from prostate cancer in otherwise healthy men.

According to the researchers, since vitamin E is such a popular supplement for men over 60, the findings of their study are particularly important. The researchers looked at a random sample of 35,000 men who took a selenium tablet or a vitamin E tablet, a vitamin E and selenium tablet together, or a placebo. The African American men in the study, who are at a higher risk of prostate cancer, were 50 years or older, while the White men were at least 55.

The researchers directed the study participants to stop taking the pills after 5 1/2 years, a year earlier than what they were originally told to do. An interim analysis showed that the vitamin E tablet wasn’t reducing the risk of prostate cancer, and in some cases, was actually increasing it. However, the researchers attributed this finding to chance. Nevertheless, at the end of the study the researchers found that the risk of prostate cancer between the group of men taking vitamin E and the group taking the placebo widened rather than evened out–indicating that vitamin E actually raised the risk. Other researchers aren’t as convinced by the study’s findings, and argue that the results are simply "statistical". The current study’s authors do admit that they have no explanation for their findings, and that the results do differ from other large randomized trial findings that suggest no risk between vitamin E consumption and prostate cancer.