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Once again, vitamin E gets a public thrashing -- once again, the study is pure junk

This year’s model

Without fail, every year brings a fresh study that bashes vitamin E. And just days ago the 2011 model was rolled out to widespread media acclaim.

And this one is a beauty!

It’s one of those “gold standard” studies the medial mainstream adores. And at first glance it’s impressive: double-blind, placebo-controlled, more than 35,500 subjects, a long intervention period (seven years for some, 12 years for others).

So with all that flash and dazzle, you might have actually been tempted to believe the hand-wringing news reports of doom that claimed vitamin E supplements increase prostate cancer risk.

But by now you know there’s always a catch. And this year’s model of vitamin E slam turns out to be just as pointless as the model from last year, and the year before, and the year before that.

The difference this year is that the study is massive, which just means it’s a massive waste of time and money.

Squandered opportunity

This big, potentially excellent study might have provided an important breakthrough in our understanding of vitamin E. Instead, it’s a complete blunder because the researchers got everything right except for one critical detail.

They used a synthetic form of vitamin E. Which is junk.

As Dr. Spreen has cautioned many times, this form of E supplement should only be used EXTERNALLY because it’s “a molecule shape that the body is not designed to handle.”

If the researchers had really wanted to put vitamin E to a GENUINE test as a prostate cancer preventive, they would have used d-alpha or the full spectrum of tocopherols and tocotrienols.

But in using the synthetic form, they simply wasted their time and put thousands of men through a very long pointless exercise.

But maybe not entirely pointless.

As Dr. Spreen has frequently pointed out, researchers have known for decades that selenium enhances the effectiveness of vitamin E. And that proved true here.

Subjects in this new study who took both E and selenium had rates of prostate cancer that were very close to rates of the disease in the placebo group.

Unfortunately, all those men were given an inferior form of vitamin E. If they had been given the proper form, I believe the study would have produced VERY different results. In other words: prostate cancer preventive results.

This was a golden opportunity. And it was squandered. The only lingering question is whether or not it was squandered on purpose.

It’s not exactly a secret that vitamin E has different forms. Dr. Spreen hasn’t been keeping this information to himself all these years. So anyone with enough experience to conduct such a massive government-funded vitamin E study would surely be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the different forms.

And just for fun, let’s check the study’s Conflict of Interest Disclosures…

Merck appears three times, Pfizer twice, Novartis twice, AstraZeneca twice, and sanofi-aventis, Abbott, Janssen, and Amgen all appear once. One researcher has financial links to three of those companies, and has also received consulting fees, and payment for lectures and development of educational presentations for Firmagon, a drug that treats prostate cancer. Another researcher is co-founder of Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals.

All of that doesn’t add up to a smoking gun. But I’m finding it very hard to avoid the conclusion that the fix was in.

“Vitamin E and the Risk of Prostate Cancer” Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 306, No. 14, 10/12/11,

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