Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Vitamin E supplementation increases prostate cancer incidence by 17%

In a follow up to their original study, Eric Klein M.D.  from the Cleveland Clinic and the rest of the SELECT clinical trial team report that supplementation with vitamin E at levels found in typical over the counter antioxidant preparations at your local grocery store can have long term effects, resulting in an increased incidence of prostate cancer years after the supplementation.  Furthermore, this effect was seemingly blocked by combining vitamin E with selenium and accordingly there was a statistically significant interaction -- however selenium alone (at least in the form it was provided) did not protect against prostate cancer in the long-term.  The take home message here is that despite all the reports that various vitamins or supplements may protect patients from disease, if there is such an effect, it may depend on the individual patient's biology, genetics and former and present environment.  Furthermore, the level of supplementation needed to see a positive effect may be within a narrow range, outside which too little or too much is actually hazardous to the patient's health -- the "goldilocks effect".  Read about it at JAMA

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