The Los Angeles Times reports that Vitamin E and selenium supplements, either taken independently or together, do not reduce a man’s chances of developing prostate cancer, and may even heighten his risks, a federally funded study has found. The National Institutes of Health reported this. A seven-year trial involving more than 35,000 subjects and conducted at 400 sites around the United States was suspended this month, after researchers began tallying the effects and found, at best, no benefit and at worst, signs of trouble. Participants were told to stop taking their supplements and assured that their health would be monitored for roughly the next three years.Researchers found a slightly elevated risk of prostate cancer in subjects taking only Vitamin E and a small increased risk of developing diabetes in men taking only selenium. The National Institutes of Health, which funded the study, said that those effects may have been due to chance.Previous studies had suggested that selenium and Vitamin E, taken alone or together, might decrease the risk of developing prostate cancer by 60% and 30%, respectively.Studies done in the 1990s found that beta-carotene supplementation failed to prevent lung cancer, and in fact appeared to increase the odds that male smokers would develop lung cancer.
In other clinical trials, researchers are exploring whether lycopene, a plant-based substance, might reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
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