Supplements Meant to Prevent Prostate Cancer May Actually Increase Risk

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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