The U.S. government has halted a major trial investigating whether vitamin E and selenium prevent prostate cancer because the supplements aren't working - and there's a hint of risk.
The halted trial involved more than 35,000 men age 50 and older who have been taking one or both supplements or placebo pills for several years.
On Monday, the National Cancer Institute announced that study participants will be getting letters telling them to stop taking the pills they were given.
An early review of the data shows neither vitamin E nor selenium, taken alone or together, is preventing prostate cancer.
There was a slight increase in the number of cases of prostate cancer among those who were taking vitamin E only.
Among those who supplemented with selenium only, researchers are saw a slight rise in the incidence of type 2 diabetes.
Researchers will continue to track the men's health for three years saying that these findings don't prove there's a risk from the supplements as they weren't statistically significant.
Earlier smaller studies had suggested these nutrients might help, but instead vitamin E and selenium have become the latest failures in a quest to find cancer-preventing dietary supplements.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Canadian men. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, in 2008, an estimated 24,700 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 4,300 will die of it.
For personalized nutrition consulting aimed at reducing prostate cancer risk, check out how you can work one-on-one with Leslie Beck, RD.
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