More Harm Than Good
Ten years ago researchers set out to prove the benefits of vitamin E and the mineral selenium in preventing prostate cancer. The study produced unexpected results in two ways. Six years into the study, which took place across centers in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, findings showed no positive association between vitamin E consumption and prostate cancer prevention. Now, as researchers further examine study participants, there is startling evidence that the supplement may have actually caused prostate cancer in some participants.
“Based on the data, it’s difficult to say whether an increase in vitamin E consumption truly causes prostate cancer, but there is clearly no proven benefit to your prostate from taking the supplement,” says Dr. David Samadi, Vice Chairman, Department of Urology, and Chief of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical Center.
The study, reported in The Journal of the American Medical Association, included 35,000 men and found a 17% increased risk of prostate cancer among those taking 400 IU/day of Vitamin E.
Unsurprised by the data, Dr. Samadi is a leading prostate cancer treatment expert who believes that too often Americans are looking for a quick fix when it comes to vitamin supplements. “There is no magic pill that can take the place of healthy habits,” he says. “Prostate cancer is a tricky disease; it can present itself with almost no symptoms, lay dormant for many years, or show its face and wreak tremendous havoc.”
Many in the medical community are speaking out today about the misconceptions of vitamin supplements and their supposed health benefits. Their concern is that too often people rely on potential benefits or fads when it comes to dietary supplements.
Researchers in the study believe that the findings challenge the trusted notion of vitamin E as a preventative measure against prostate cancer. They state that among men age 60 and older, more than 50% regularly take supplements containing vitamin E. More important, 23% are taking up to 400 IU/day, the potentially dangerous dosage indicated by the data in this study.
Dr. Samadi’s patients are among the 240,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer in the U.S. each year. As an expert in robotic prostate surgery, Dr. Samadi is an avid proponent of PSA screenings. Early diagnosis, when the prostate cancer is localized, gives men the best chance for survival and successful treatment through the surgical removal of their prostate.
Further, Dr. Samadi believes that prostate cancer prevention begins with the basics. “There are simple things that men can do to optimize their prostate health,” he says. “Maintain a healthy weight through regular, moderate exercise. Plan a balanced diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, that’s where the antioxidants are. And get your annual PSA screening. It does work and it gives us vital information about your prostate health,” Dr. Samadi concludes.
More can be seen from prostate cancer expert, Dr. Samadi, on YouTube.com/roboticoncology