Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Jan 2000

Vitamin E, Prostate Cancer, Antioxidants, DHEA, more

Vitamin E, Prostate Cancer, Antioxidants, DHEA, more

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, on January 2021.

Prostate Cancer

Vitamin E and Prostate Cancer: Vitamin E, alpha- and gamma-tocopherol, and prostate cancer

Vitamin E is one of the most researched compounds in medicine. Vitamin E is actually a general name for potentially eight different compounds, so supplements can contain several forms and vitamin E in the diet also differs from the form found over the counter. There has been a strong interest in this supplement in the prostate cancer arena primarily because of a Finnish study that demonstrated a lower morbidity and mortality from this disease in men taking 50 mg of synthetic (alpha-tocopherol) vitamin E daily. In addition, observations from laboratory and clinical studies dealing with heart disease have found that gamma-tocopherol may also play a significant role in prevention; therefore, we decided to test the ability of this compound (versus synthetic vitamin E) to control the growth of a human prostate cancer cell line. Gamma-tocopherol was found to be superior to alpha-tocopherol in terms of cell inhibition in vitro. Both forms of vitamin E (and others) should be thoroughly evaluated in the future to provide the most effective chemoprevention information to the patient.

Seminars Urological Oncology 1999 May;17(2):85-90

Vitamin Intake and Prostate Cancer: Vitamin and mineral supplement use is associated with reduced risk of prostate cancer

This population-based, case-control study in King County, Washington examined supplement use in 697 incident prostate cancer cases (ages 40-64) identified from the Puget Sound Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results program registry and 666 controls recruited from the same overall population using random-digit dialing sampling. Participants reported their frequency of use of three types of multivitamins and single supplements of vitamins A, C, and E, calcium, iron, and zinc over the 2 years before diagnosis. Logistic regression analyses controlled for age, race, education, family history of prostate cancer, body mass index, number of prostate-specific antigen tests in the previous 5 years, and dietary fat intake. Adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence limits) for the contrast of > or =7/week versus no use were as follows: multivitamins, 0.96 (0.73, 1.26); vitamin A, 0.59 (0.32, 1.06); vitamin C, 0.77 (0.57, 1.04); vitamin E, 0.76 (0.54, 1.08); calcium, 1.04 (0.61, 1.78); iron, 0.50 (0.13, 1.76); and zinc, 0.55 (0.30, 1.00). Odds ratios differed little when cases were stratified by stage of disease at diagnosis or by histopathological grade. There were significant dose-response effects for zinc and ordered dose-response trends for vitamins C and E. Overall, these results suggest that multivitamin use is not associated with prostate cancer risk, but use of individual supplements of zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin E may be protective. Further study is needed to investigate the direct role of these dietary supplements, as well as the role of lifestyle variables associated with supplement use, on prostate cancer risk.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 1999 Oct;8(10):887-92

Antioxidants' Role in Prostate Cancer: Diet, androgens, oxidative stress and prostate cancer susceptibility

Prostate cancer is the most common human malignancy and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men in Western nations. Descriptive epidemiologic data suggest that androgens and/or environmental exposures, such as diet (in particular, dietary fat), play an important role in prostatic carcinogenesis. One plausible link between diet and prostate cancer is oxidative stress. This process refers to the generation of reactive oxygen species, which can then trigger a host of pro-carcinogenic processes. Recent studies also indicate that androgens increase oxidative stress within human prostate cancer cell lines. Recent data from our institution indicate that oxidative stress is higher within the benign epithelium of prostate cancer patients than men without the disease. This confirms our hypothesis and suggests that antioxidants such as lycopene, vitamin E, and selenium may play an important role in preventing disease progression. Large-scale clinical trials with some of these agents are currently in the design phase.

Cancer Metastasis Rev 1998-99;17(4):325-30

DHEA and Physical Movement

Modification of physical movement in old C57BL/6 mice by DHEA and melatonin supplementation

As old age results in reduced physical activity as well as less dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and melatonin (MLT) production, low hormone levels may be a component of inactivity. Therefore, we studied the effects of DHEA and/or MLT supplementation on movement and resting in young and old female C57 black mice. Our results showed for the first time that old female C56BL/6 mice have significantly decreased physical activity. Their average speed and resting time were significantly higher than in young mice, whereas ambulatory time, distance traveled, and body movements when stationary (stereo time) were lower. DHEA supplementation significantly increased stereo time in old mice, while decreasing ambulatory time and distance traveled. MLT supplementation of old mice decreased average speed, resting time, and stereo time compared to untreated, old mice. Supplementation with MLT or DHEA, whose production is reduced in aging, restored physical activity levels in old mice. MLT also increased ambulatory time and distance traveled while reducing body movements of young mice.

Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 1999 Jul;221(3):193-7