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July 2014

Vitamin C, E Supplementation Not Linked to Cancer Risk

Contrary to previous findings, new research suggests that long-term vitamin C and E supplementation may not lead to an increased risk for prostate cancer.

Vitamin E has been studied for the prevention or treatment of many health conditions. Concerns have been raised about the safety of vitamin E supplementation, particularly in high doses. A recent study suggested that taking high doses of vitamin E might increase the risk for prostate cancer.

In a new study, researchers analyzed data on 14,641 males at least 50 years-old from the Physicians’ Health Study II. Each participant was randomly assigned to receive 400 IU of vitamin E every other day, 500 mg of vitamin C daily, or placebo. Supplementation began in 1997 and continued through 2007. Data was collected on the participants through June 2011.

Throughout an average 2.8 year follow-up period, 771 cases of cancer developed, 356 of which were prostate cancer. Throughout the overall average 10.3 year follow-up period, a total of 2,669 cancer cases developed, 1,373 of which were prostate cancer. The researchers found that there was no link between vitamin E supplementation and the risk of prostate cancer or cancer of any kind. Similarly, vitamin C supplementation had no effect on either prostate or total cancer risk.

The authors concluded that vitamin E and vitamin C supplementation does not affect prostate cancer risk or risk of cancer of any kind in the long or short-term.

For information about vitamin E or C, please visit Natural Standard’s Food, Herbs & Supplements Database.


  1. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine.
  2. Wang L, Sesso HD, Glynn RJ, et al. Vitamin E and C supplementation and risk of cancer in men: posttrial follow-up in the Physicians' Health Study II randomized trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Jul 9.

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