Continued from page 1

Experts generally agree that foods are the best sources for vitamins.

The new research appears in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association. The National Cancer Institute and National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine paid for the multimillion-dollar study.

Joe Latina, a cabinet shop owner in Aurora, Ohio, was among study participants. He said researchers gave him pills they said “might slow down prostate cancer.” Now 71 and cancer-free, he says he doesn’t know whether he was given vitamins or dummy pills.

Latina said he “was kind of surprised” by the study results, but is not stressing out over the possibility that he still might get cancer.

“I’m a positive thinker,” he said. “I’m not walking around saying, `Oh my God, the other shoe is going to drop. I don’t think I have any way to control it.”

The study involved more than 35,000 healthy men aged 50 and older, from the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. They were randomly assigned to take daily vitamin E or selenium supplements, both pills or dummy pills. The study was halted after about five years when there were signs of no benefit and a possible increased risk for prostate cancer in vitamin E users. The researchers continued tracking the men even after they stopped taking pills.

The follow-up found that a potential link between selenium and diabetes was a false alarm, but it confirmed signs of a vitamin E-prostate cancer link. Over a total of about seven years, there were 76 cases of prostate cancer diagnosed per 1,000 men, versus 65 cases in men given dummy pills.

“The implications of our observations are substantial,” the study authors said.

The results suggest that extra risks associated with taking relatively high doses of vitamin E continue even after supplements are stopped. The researchers said it is unclear how vitamin E would harm the prostate.

There was no increased risk for men who took both vitamin E and selenium, suggesting that selenium might somehow counter the harmful effects of vitamin E, the study authors said.

Duffy MacKay of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a supplement makers’ trade group, said the study shouldn’t be interpreted as questioning the benefits of vitamin E as an essential nutrient, and he said there is evidence that many Americans don’t get enough.




National Cancer Institute:

Story Continues →