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Vitamin E is an Essential Nutrient Vital for Cells and Organs

Dr Carrie Ruxton from the Health Supplements Information Service says “this was a trial involving 35,533 men over the age of 50 years who exhibited no symptoms or indications of prostate cancer. The men were randomly assigned in approximately equal numbers to one of four treatment groups: 8,752 men received supplements containing selenium (200 micrograms/day); 8,737 received vitamin E (400 IU[363mg]/day); 8,702 received both selenium and vitamin E, while 8,696 received a placebo. For reference, the Recommended Daily Allowances are 55 micrograms for selenium, and 12mg for vitamin E. Therefore, this study utilized extremely high doses of these nutrients.”


She went on to say that “an initial report from the study published in 2008 found no differences in prostate cancer risk between any of the groups. The current paper represents the findings from further follow-up of participants since 2008 during which time 521 additional cases of prostate cancer have been diagnosed: 113 in the placebo group, 147 in the vitamin E group, 143 in the selenium group, and 118 in the combination group.”

“Overall, since the start of the study in 2001, prostate cancer was diagnosed in 529 men in the placebo group, 620 men in the vitamin E group, 575 in the selenium group and 555 men in the selenium plus vitamin E group.”


Dr Ruxton conlcuded that “this is yet another trial, of which there have been many during recent years, in which very high dose dietary supplements are used in an attempt to prevent disease. Yet, vitamins and minerals are not intended for this purpose; they are essential nutrients which should be consumed in recommended amounts to maintain health and prevent nutrient deficiency. As recent data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) show, dietary intakes of vitamins and minerals have not improved in the last 10 years, indeed intake of several nutrients has fallen and many groups continue to have inadequate intakes. Therefore, there is a need for intakes of essential nutrients to be improved across many sectors of the UK population. While this should ideally be achieved by consumption of a healthy, varied diet, evidence suggests that this is not happening. A supplement containing the recommended amounts of a variety of vitamins and minerals can therefore help to bridge this dietary gap.”

Last updated: 13-10-2011