Cancer warning: The ‘popular’ vitamin associated with a 91% higher risk of the disease


With millions of lives lost yearly, cancer can strike anyone. Fortunately, a compelling body of research suggests that you can lower your risk of developing a cancer diagnosis. From diet to exercise, you may be able to ward off the disease. While some risk factors seem obvious, others including supplements might come as a surprise.

Cancer describes a condition during which cells in parts of your body start growing and reproducing uncontrollably.

Supplements have been put under heavy scrutiny in recent years due to the emerging side effects. And one of them might be cancer.

The “popular” supplement found to increase your cancer risk when overdosed is selenium, according to research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Selenium is a mineral essential for various body functions, ranging from metabolism to thyroid function.


The cancer associated with the popular mineral in question is prostate cancer.

This type of cancer usually develops slowly without showing warning signs for many years.

Prostate cancer has been also classified as one of the “most common” cancers in men.

The study, discovering this scary link, looked at more than 35,000 participants.

These subjects were given either selenium, vitamin E, a placebo or a combination of these supplements.

Selenium, in particular, was then found to increase the risk of high-grade cancer in men, who had higher selenium levels to begin with, by a staggering 91 percent.

However, selenium didn’t pose a risk to participants who were lacking the mineral in the first place.

After these overwhelming findings, the study had to be brought to a halt.

Medicine pills spill out of a bottle isolated on white background

When it comes to vitamin E, the risk for cancer was also pronounced with a 69 percent increase.

The lead author of the study, Doctor Alan, 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.”

“Many people think that dietary supplements are helpful or at the least innocuous. This is not true.”

The NHS explains that you should be able to get all the selenium you need from a healthy, varied diet that includes meat, fish or nuts.

They also shared that if you opt for supplements, “it’s important not to take too much as this could be harmful”.

What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

Warning signs of the diagnosis include:

  • Increased need to pee
  • Straining while you pee
  • Feeling that your bladder has not fully emptied.

However, symptoms don’t tend to appear until the prostate is big enough to affect the urethra – the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the penis.

The NHS shares not to ignore symptoms like these.