Men with high vitamin E and multivitamins intake with high serum selenium levels are less likely to affect by prostate cancer.
The study, reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was conducted by Dr Ulrike Peters, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre, Seattle, and colleagues.
The team compared selenium in blood samples collected before diagnosis from 724 subjects who developed prostate cancer and from a comparison group of 879 similar men who remained free of the disease.
Overall, the researchers found no association between serum selenium and prostate cancer risk. However, higher serum selenium correlated with a lower likelihood of prostate cancer in men who reported a high vitamin E intake (more than the average of 28 IU per day) and those taking multivitamins.
Selenium is a constituent of the enzyme glutathione peroxidase, one of the body’s more potent antioxidants. Such agents have the ability to quash biologically damaging reactions triggered within the body by any of a host of naturally produced chemicals called oxidants.
Because oxidant damage has been linked with many cancers, some scientists have suspected that any anticancer benefit from selenium probably would trace to its antioxidant contribution.
Plant foods are the major dietary sources of selenium in most countries throughout the world. The content of selenium in food depends on the selenium content of the soil where plants are grown or animals are raised.