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Vitamin E increases risk of prostate cancer? More junk science from JAMA

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Mike Bundrant
Natural News
October 19, 2011

A major clinical trial has found that dietary supplementation with vitamin E appears to increase the risk of prostate cancer among apparently healthy men. [Klein EA and others. Vitamin E and the risk of prostate cancer: The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT). JAMA 306:1549-1556, 2011]http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/…

The study, which spanned more than seven years, followed what happened to more than 35,000 men who received either 400 IU of vitamin E, vitamin E plus selenium, selenium, or a placebo. The group that received vitamin E alone had a 17% higher incidence of prostate cancer. The researchers warned:

“The observed . . . increase in prostate cancer incidence demonstrates the potential for seemingly innocuous yet biologically active substances such as vitamins to cause harm. The lack of benefit from dietary supplementation with vitamin E or other agents with respect to preventing common health conditions and cancers or improving overall survival, and their potential harm, underscore the need for consumers to be skeptical of health claims for unregulated over-the-counter products in the absence of strong evidence of benefit demonstrated in clinical trials.”

I sent this report to my colleague, Randy Ice, of Vintage Medical in Temecula, California. Randy is no stranger to Big Pharma’s junk science and came back with an answer that, for me, represents the type of rigorous thinking we all should be doing when it comes to analyzing mainstream media. The rest of this article is all Randy.

Let’s start with the statistical sleight of hand these goofballs use to come up with “17% increased risk.” This requires an understanding of “relative risk” versus “absolute risk” and why they always report the former and never the later:

Out of 35,000 men randomly divided into placebo, selenium, vitamin E or selenium plus vitamin E, there were 521 cases of PCA that developed over three years. The absolute risk of developing PCA is only 0.005% per year. That’s not a very high ABSOLUTE risk to begin with!

The PAC rates in each of the 4 groups were:

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

Placebo: 113
Vitamin E: 147 (17% RELATIVE risk increase)
Selenium: 143 (non-significant)
Vitamin E + Selenium: 118 (non-significant)

So, if you take 400 iu’s of alpha tocopherol, there is a statistical relative risk increase of “17%.” However if you take selenium, or vitamin E plus selenium, there is NO statistical difference.

Why wasn’t that reported?? Why would vitamin E alone increase risk while vitamin E taken with selenium not increase risk? This makes no sense at all.

However, they didn’t report the negative findings and only sensationalized a finding that has “statistical significance” but NO clinical significance. Here’s why.

Fun with statistics

If you take 147 – 113 cases, it equals 34 more cases of PCA in the vitamin E group than the placebo group. 34/35000 total subjects =0.001% ABSOLUTE increased risk. In other words, the actual risk of developing PCA is 1 out of 1000 more in those who took Vitamin E instead of a placebo.

34/113 = 17% – the “relative risk” increase, which is what is reported. If you were to tell men vitamin E increases your risk of PCA by a factor of 1 in 1000, who would care?

But if you report a 17% increase, that’s pretty scary!

This is the same statistical garbage used by Big Pharma to “prove” many of their worthless drugs “work” when in reality they only benefit 1 in 100 or 1 in 1000, as is the case of statin drugs. Unfortunately, the ignorant, compliant and complacent Big Media reporters have no clue and dutifully quote this junk science. I already have clients calling me telling me their urologist told them to stop taking Vitamin E.

What they also did not report was the difference in SURVIVAL between these four groups, or if there were any differences in the aggressiveness of the PCA in any of them. What if the selenium or Vitamin E groups had lower
Gleason scores on biopsy? That would be an obvious benefit. This is exactly what you find with testosterone. Lower levels lead to higher Gleason scores and a more aggressive cancer.

Undoubtedly there are no differences in mortality in any group, as PCA has only a 3%/year mortality. Since the mortality rate of everyone is about 1.5%/year, it’s pretty obvious this is a condition that is better off left alone or treated with some low tech, inexpensive natural methods.

Never forget that the CDC has reported on deaths from vitamins, minerals and herbs ever year and for the last 20 years that number is ZERO! Over 100,000 deaths occur every year in the USA alone from drug adverse reactions and is probably close to half a million or more worldwide.

So, is taking Vitamin E more dangerous than taking a pharmaceutical?

Finally, the use of only one form of vitamin E and not all four forms (alpha, gamma, beta, delta) combined with all four forms of tocotrienols is another limiting factor to this study, combined with the fact that 400 iu’s is a very low dose (the selenium dose used in this study is also ridiculously low). Recent cardiovascular studies show one obtains the most benefit from 2000 – 2500 iu’s/day of all four forms of tocopherols and tocotrienols, with gamma tocopherol having the most powerful anti-cancer effect.

Big Media conveniently leaves out the fact that 1000’s of other studies of vitamin E have shown multiple cardiovascular and antioxidant benefits. These kind of vitamin “hit” pieces that are poorly designed and have an underlying agenda to “prove” they’re dangerous are being instigated by Big Pharma’s minions to implement European style restrictions in accessibility to vitamins, minerals and herbs. The ultimate goal is to gain control over the supplement industry such that a doctor’s prescription will be required to obtain them in any dosage above some bureaucrat determined minuscule amount that has no benefit whosoever. The competition will hence be eliminated for Big Pharma.

Welcome to the NWO and Codex Alimentarus!


This article was posted: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 at 3:15 am

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