The best health advice is to ensure you get sufficient essential nutrients in your diet. While it’s fine to go overboard on some vitamins and minerals, there are some where too much may not be a good thing. For several years, vitamin E has been the subject of such health news, and the latest is a biggie.
Men who pop a daily vitamin E supplement — once thought to reduce cancer risk — may actually face an increased risk of prostate cancer. The news comes from a large national study that started in 2001. The new study appears in the prestigious “Journal of the American Medical Association.”
It found that a group of men taking a daily dose of 400 international units (IU) of vitamin E from 2001 to 2008 had 17% more cases of prostate cancer than men who took a placebo.
This is gleaned from over 35,000 throughout the United States and Canada. The men were divided into four groups: vitamin E and the mineral selenium; vitamin E alone; selenium alone; and placebo.
Those men taking vitamin E alone were the only ones to have a statistically significant increased risk of prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in American men, with a current lifetime risk of 16%. For 2011, it is estimated that 240,000 new cases and 33,000 deaths will result in the U.S.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning the body doesn’t wash it away like it does it you have excess vitamin C, for instance. Vitamin C is water-soluble, the opposite. In any event, the recommended daily intake for vitamin E is set at 15 milligrams for all adults. Many foods are stocked with vitamin E, and leading the list are vegetable oils, nuts (especially almonds, hazelnuts and peanuts), seeds (especially sunflower seeds), fortified cereals, and green leafy vegetables.
If men get a lot of these foods in their diet, it’s possible they need not take a vitamin E supplement at all. If you have any concerns, seek out doctors’ advice, of course.