High dose vitamin E may raise risk of cancer

A new large study reveals that high doses of vitamin E can significantly increase the risk of developing prostate cancer in men.

According to the study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the chances of developing prostate cancer rose by 17%, even years after men stopped taking the vitamin. Researchers found more cases of prostate cancer among men taking 400 international units (IU) of vitamin E a day than placebo. This comes right after a study which found women taking certain supplements have an increased risk of dying.

In the past, there have been similar studies linking vitamin E supplementation on its own with cancer. Interestingly, there are other studies showing the opposite- that vitamin E has a preventive effect- so findings have been inconsistent.

If you take supplements or nutraceuticals regularly, my advice is to seek a licensed naturopathic doctor to guide you through and to determine what is necessary for your health needs. Very often I have patients coming in and telling me that they are on 10 or 15 different supplements- because they’ve read that this may prevent that, or their friends have recommended they take it. Many people think that all supplements are “safe” to take anytime, since they are “natural”. But the truth is, supplements and nutraceuticals could potentially do harm if taken for the wrong condition, at a wrong dosage, or with other interacting drugs and supplements.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association. 2011 Oct 12;306(14):1549-56.

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