Are Vitamins Helpful or Hurtful for Prostate Cancer?

How micronutrients affect adenocarcinoma of the prostate has been long debated.

How micronutrients affect adenocarcinoma of the prostate has been long debated.

In studies, both positive and negative correlations have been made between vitamins and prostate cancer. So, when it comes to prostate cancer prevention, do supplements help or hurt?

The World Journal of Urology has published a topic paper discussing recent research related to the influence of vitamins A, E, and D on prostate cancer. The scientists who drafted this piece also discussed metabolomic profiling, a technique used to measure small biochemicals in humans and other organisms, as a tool for advancements in this area.

The paper summarized prostate cancer risk data from clinical studies, cohort studies, nested case-control studies, and randomized controlled trials. Overall, the results correlated higher serum vitamin E with a reduced prostate cancer risk.

However, controlled trials looking at vitamin E supplementation demonstrate mixed results. Analyses have shown that low dose supplementation may be protective, while high doses may actually be harmful.

In contrast, increased serum retinol and calcifediol and beta-carotene supplementation in smokers have been correlated with increased prostate cancer risk. Beta-carotene may also interact with certain medications through CYP1A2 and CYP2E1 induction.

The authors’ study group also conducted 2 prospective trials correlating serum levels of small biochemicals from 1 to 20 years before diagnosis and the risk of developing prostate cancer. They found a statistically significant association between reduced lipid and energy/TCA cycle metabolites (including inositol-1-phosphate, lysolipids, alpha-ketoglutarate, and citrate) and diminished risk for aggressive disease.

These results provide researchers with several valuable targets and opportunities for further study. More research is warranted to determine whether vitamin E supplementation may help prevent prostate cancer, as well as whether vitamin A and D may actually put patients at higher risk. Future research in this area has the capacity to identify biomarkers and pathways for prostate cancer detection, prognosis, etiology, and prevention.