Vitamin E for Prostate Cancer

General Information

Vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin, is an antioxidant. It prevents prostate cancer by two mechanisms. It protects cells by quenching free radicals and by stabilizing cell membranes thus protecting tissues in the body. Natural sources of vitamin E are usually high in fat. However, there are sources of vitamin E that do not contain large amounts of fat. Healthy (lower in fat) sources of vitamin E include:

  • Whole grains (including cereals)
  • Wheat germ
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Nectarines, peaches, apricots, mangos and avocados
  • Pumpkin (cooked)
  • Salmon (baked, broiled or steamed)

Medical Research/Studies

Vitamin E is primarily used for prostate cancer prevention. In the Alpha-Tocopherol Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study (ATBC Study), vitamin E was shown to reduce prostate cancer risk by 30% and reduce death from prostate cancer by 40%.

Researchers have found various dosages of vitamin E to inhibit prostate cancer progression. Studies have shown that as little as 50 IU of vitamin E per day is needed for this benefit. Other studies have found 800 IU per day to be effective in preventing progression. It is recommended that you take 50 IU per day, because it is safe and proven to be effective. Why take extra if you don't really need it?

Urology Center Recommendations

  • Vitamin E (50 IU is recommended) can be obtained from a multivitamin and/or from natural food sources.
  • Vitamin E can be lost from foods during cooking, processing or storage. To avoid the loss of vitamin E, store foods in airtight containers and avoid exposing them to light.
  • Eat whole-grain cereals. Many cereals are fortified with vitamin E.

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