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Supplements: The ‘popular’ mineral that raises the risk of ‘high-grade’ cancer by 91%


Supplements rose to popularity at the turn of the century, promising an immediate health boost. But there is increasing evidence that caution is warranted when taking vitamins and minerals. One study found that selenium when overdosed, cold increase the odds of high-grade prostate cancer by up to 91 percent. The authors of the study warned against the use of supplementation with selenium and vitamin E for men.

There has long been a prevailing belief that supplements are innocuous, but this couldn’t be further away from the truth.

In fact, researchers believe some supplements offer no benefits whatsoever, just risks.

Selenium is one of them, with researchers pointing out that overdosing on the supplement could raise the chances of developing high-grade cancer by 91 percent.

The findings, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, highlight that information around the supposed benefits of dietary supplements can be misleading.

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But when consumed by individuals whose levels were already high, the risk for high-grade cancers went up by 91 percent.

Researchers also found that individuals with high selenium at the outset of the study who took vitamin E supplements, saw their prostate cancer risk increase by 69 percent and their risk of high-grade cancer raise by 111 percent.

The lead author of the study, Doctor Alan Kristal from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle, 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.”

Doctor Kristal went on to suggest that the public is often misled to believe that dietary supplements are solely beneficial.

“Many people think that dietary supplements are helpful or at the least innocuous,” he explained.

“This is not true. We know from several other studies that some high-dose dietary supplements – that is, supplements that provide far more than the daily recommended intakes of micronutrients – increase cancer risk.

“We knew this based on randomised controlled, double-blinded studies for folate and beta carotene, and now we know it or vitamin E and selenium.”

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