The supplements that could raise your cancer risk by up to 91%

Prostate cancer: Dr Hilary outlines signs and symptoms

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Vitamin and mineral supplements have become a multi-million business in the last century, with the sales value being recorded at 454 million in the UK. While there is certainly a popular demand, science is a whole other thing. The latter shows that certain products could cause more harm than good when taken in large quantities.

According to a study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found that vitamin E and selenium could raise the risk of cancer.

Vitamin E assists in maintaining healthy skin and eyes as well as boosting immunity, while selenium offers strong antioxidant properties.

However, the research, looking at more than 35,000 men divided into four groups, found the supplement forms of these two risky.

The participants were taking either vitamin E, selenium, a placebo or a combination of these.

READ MORE: Taking two vitamin supplements together found to increase cancer risk by almost 30% – BMJ

The research suggested that vitamin E increased the risk of low-grade and high-grade prostate cancer in men with lower selenium levels by 63 and 46 percent respectively.

Furthermore, selenium was linked to a whopping 91 percent higher risk of high-grade cancer in men with higher selenium levels.

However, selenium didn’t pose a risk to participants who were lacking the mineral in the first place.

After these overwhelming findings, the study had to be brought to a halt.

In the UK, more than 47,500 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year, according to Prostate Cancer UK.

The research concluded that men should avoid taking vitamin E and selenium supplements at doses that exceed recommended intake.

The lead author of the study said: “These supplements are popular – especially vitamin E – also so far no large, well-destined and well-conducted study has shown any benefits for preventing any major chronic disease.

“Men using these supplements should stop, period. Neither selenium nor vitamin E supplementation confers any known benefits, only risks.”

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“Many people think that dietary supplements are helpful or at the least innocuous. This is not true.” spoke to Monika Wassermann, Medical Director at about what seems to be the harmful part of these supplements. However, research on this isn’t clear.

She said: “While numerous studies show high doses of selenium and vitamin E supplements can cause prostate cancer, no one really knows their connection.

“There are no studies that show how these supplements increase the risk of prostate cancer.”

When it comes to the amount that’s harmful, the study shared to avoid doses that exceed recommended dietary intakes.

“Researchers claim consuming 140 ug of selenium and 400 UI of vitamin E per day makes you more susceptible to prostate cancer,” Wassermann added.

Fortunately, there are plenty of selenium and vitamin E-rich foods that could still provide the nutrients.

The expert said: “If you want to get enough selenium and vitamin E without supplements, keep an eye on the following foods.”

Selenium-Rich Foods:

  • Lentils
  • Milk and Yoghurt
  • Oatmeal
  • Spinach
  • Mushrooms
  • Eggs
  • Brown rice
  • Brazil nuts
  • Chicken
  • Turkey.

Vitamin E-Rich Foods:

  • Peanuts
  • Avocado
  • Atlantic salmon
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Wheat germ oil
  • Almonds.

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