The Real Facts about Vitamin E and Prostate Cancer Prevention
Oct 20, 2011
Does taking vitamin E increase your risk of prostate cancer? If you have seen the new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) about the extended findings of the SELECT trial which stated that vitamin E can increase the risk of prostate cancer, don’t panic. There are some important things you should know about the study and about vitamin E before you throw away your vitamin E supplements. The facts about vitamin E are:
- There are 8 forms of vitamin E (see below), they are not all the same, and evidence to date has shown some forms can help with prevention of prostate cancer.
- The SELECT study used only one form of vitamin E—alpha-tocopherol—which research indicated years before the SELECT trial even began to be ineffective at preventing prostate cancer unless it was used along with another form of vitamin E, gamma-tocopherol
- The gamma-tocopherol form of vitamin E was shown to be effective at reducing the risk of prostate cancer by researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health before the SELECT trial began
- Research from 1994 found that alpha-tocopherol robs cells of gamma-tocopherol, which is the form of vitamin E that offers more protection against prostate cancer
- Limited studies of the tocotrienol forms of vitamin E have indicated they may also offer some protection against prostate cancer
Therefore, to state that vitamin E increases the risk of prostate cancer without explaining the limitations of the study—including the fact that SELECT used only one form of vitamin E—is a misrepresentation of what scientists and researchers have discovered about vitamin E and prostate cancer to date.