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In a study on 35000 male users of vitamin E and selenium, it was found that there was slightly higher risk of developing prostate Cancer. A separate study over 19 years period on 38,000 women in Iowa, it was found that the risk of dying among older women who used multivitamins and other supplements was higher compared with women who did not; according to a new report in The Archives of Internal Medicine.
Till now, it is
The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial, known as the Select trial, was studying whether selenium and vitamin E, either alone or in combination, could lower a man’s risk for prostate cancer.
It was stopped early in 2008 after a review of the data that showed no benefit, rather there was a suggestion of increased risk of prostate cancer and diabetes; though wasn’t statistically significant.
The latest data, based on longer-term follow-up of the men in the trial, found that users of vitamin E had a 17 percent higher risk of prostate cancer compared with men who didn’t take the vitamin, a level that was statistically significant. There was no increased risk of diabetes.
The dose being studied in the Select trial was 200 micrograms of selenium and 400 international units of vitamin E. By comparison, most multivitamins contain about 50 micrograms of selenium and 30 to 200 international units of vitamin E.
Among the women in the Iowa study, about 63 percent used supplements at the start of the study, but that number had grown to 85 percent by 2004.
Use of multivitamins, vitamin B6, folic acid, iron, magnesium, zinc and copper were all associated with increased risk of death. The findings translate to a 2.4 percent increase in absolute risk for multivitamin users, a 4 percent increase associated with vitamin B6, a 5.9 percent increase for folic acid, and increases of 3 to 4 percent in risk for those taking supplements of iron, folic acid, magnesium and zinc.
Everyone needs vitamins, which are essential nutrients that the body can’t produce on its own. But in the past few years, several high-quality studies have failed to show that high doses of vitamins, at least in pill form, help to prevent chronic disease or prolong life.
A January 2009 editorial in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute noted that most studies of vitamins had shown no cancer benefits, but some had shown unexpected harms. Two studies of beta carotene found higher lung cancer rates, and another study suggested a higher risk of precancerous polyps among users of folic acid compared with those in a placebo group.
Perhaps it is better to get just adequate amount of vitamins and minerals from food.