Flawed SELECT Study Attacks Vitamin E
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
The National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) SELECT study (Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention T
rial) for prostate cancer in men was halted this week after initial data analysis showed that selenium and vitamin E, taken alone or together for an average of five years, did not prevent prostate cancer. Since the goal of SELECT was to prove a 25% risk reduction, and since early data suggested such a result was unlikely, the trial was stopped. Furthermore, the researchers felt that there were non-statistically significant possible risks: “There were slightly more cases of prostate cancer in men taking only vitamin E and slightly more cases of diabetes in men taking only selenium. Neither of these findings proves an increased risk from the supplements and may be due to chance.”
Well, I have a question for the nutritionally-challenged people at NCI: why did you design a study that couldn’t possibly succeed and then waste taxpayer money on it? Was it simply to discredit vitamins so that your highly toxic human experiments with dangerous biotech drugs (which cost taxpayers a fortune) would be the only choice?
Already, numerous Big Pharma-funded mainstream news organizations are running anti-vitamin E and selenium headlines, warning physicians to tell their prostate patients not to take vitamin E and selenium.
Useless Vitamin E Used in Study
The SELECT trial used non-natural and chemically-derived vitamin E (dl-alpha tocopherol acetate) at a dose of 400 IU per day. Any time you see an “l” after the “d” in a vitamin E product throw it in the trash where it belongs. This vitamin E molecule is synthesized from coal tar and typically made by German pharmaceutical companies like Bayer and BASF. It has little or no antioxidant activity and is useless for human health – which was obvious long before the SELECT trial was started.
This is very similar to an earlier attack on beta-carotene, implying that beta carotene caused an increase in lung cancer in smokers who took it. Once again the “study” used a chemically-derived synthetic beta carotene made from acetylene gas produced by BASF, masquerading as a dietary supplement.
Natural Vitamin E is a Powerful Cancer Prevention Tool
Vitamin E is a required nutrient for immune system function. If you lack it, especially as you age, it is not technically possible that your immune system will work at optimal capacity. Thousands of studies confirm this statement, as well as fully documented molecular pathways relating to vitamin E and immune system function. Many Americans over the age of 50 are lacking vitamin E because it is destroyed in food processing and many people don’t eat enough of the fattier vitamin E containing foods – making vitamin E supplementation a necessity for immunologic health.
Unlike drugs that kill cancer cells with “overwhelming toxic force,” that is if they can be killed at all before killing the person with the treatment, the majority of anti-cancer nutrients such as green tea and vitamin E have a level of intelligence in human physiology. They are smart enough to know the difference between a healthy cell that should stay alive and a diseased cell that should die. This means the very same nutrient will help keep a healthy cell alive by protecting it while helping to kill cancer cells. This is truly a marvel of Mother Nature at work. No drug is even on the same playing field as nutrients provided by nature.
This does not mean that nutrients alone are a treatment for cancer. It does mean they are a powerful player in the natural immune toolbox, nothing to be discredited by bogus or incompetent “science.”
There are eight natural forms of vitamin E, 4 tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma, and delta) and 4 tocotrienols (alpha, beta, gamma, and delta). While d alpha tocopherol is the most common form of vitamin E in dietary supplements, it is actually gamma tocotrienol that is one of the most powerful anti-cancer nutrients known to Mankind. Why didn’t NCI test natural gamma tocotrienol in their study instead a synthetic and useless form of vitamin E?
There are at least three known mechanisms by which gamma tocotrienol, unlike plain vitamin E, knocks out cancer cells. The first is by directly inducing death signals in cancer cells, which has been demonstrated in prostate1 and breast cancer2 cells. It also activates the well-known tumor suppression gene3, p53, which in turn governs the cell cycle to prevent cancer. And it even shuts off the flow of blood to tumors4 to help starve them of nutrition. It does all this while simultaneously keeping healthy cells alive5 and assisting in the flow of blood to healthy cells! This is not a miracle; it is simply Mother Nature at work to aid survival.
Don’t for a moment think that cancer researchers don’t know about gamma tocotrienol.6 They have specifically tested it in combination with chemotherapy drugs7 and found that they could kill cancer cells with far less drugs. This is very important because the toxicity of cancer drugs reaches a limit of success if the dose needed exceeds the ability of one’s body to tolerate the inherent toxicity of the drugs. The fact that the gamma tocotrienol form of vitamin E is not given simultaneously along with cancer treatments is a crime of omission by the 50 billion-dollar-a-year cancer industry. They just can’t stand the idea of using a natural supplement to help anything. It’s all about money and control, not your health.
It is one thing to fail to tell cancer patients what natural remedies are indeed helpful for prevention and treatment of cancer. It is yet another to bad mouth vitamin E based on the use of a form of vitamin E that could not possibly help. In both situations, NCI’s connections to the Big Pharma and Big Biotech cancer industry are driving their research at the expense of human health, and media that views its livelihood on perpetuating the sales of Big Pharma has no clue on how to report about nutrition in an accurate way.
Selenium and Cancer
Selenium is needed to form glutathione, which is the backbone of life in all cells in your body. Adequate cellular glutathione is required to keep cells healthy, and like vitamin E, is required for immune system competence. Vitamin E and selenium work synergistically to support immunity, antioxidant defense systems, and cancer prevention. No bogus study will ever discredit these simple facts.
The form of selenium used in the SELECT study was l-selenomethionine at a dose of 200 mcg. This form of the nutrient is fine; although the dose of the nutrient may have needed to be three or four times the amount tested. The study should have had various selenium dosage groups.
But if the form of the nutrient is fine, then why didn’t the dose given seem to do anything useful? Researchers at NCI should have the brains to control for drug variables that would obviously influence the outcome of a selenium study – based on known principles of selenium biochemistry. In this case we are talking about a study group of 35,000 men at an age where they are at risk for prostate cancer. The number one drug that directly interferes with the metabolism of selenium is the widely prescribed statin drugs to lower cholesterol. The researchers should have (and still probably could) divide the selenium-taking men into those taking statins (at various dosages) and those not taking statins (if there even are any in the group). The higher the dose of statin, the greater the suppression of selenium-containing antioxidant enzymes will be.
As cholesterol is synthesized one of the side roads of metabolic activity is to produce the selenium-containing enzymes that form glutathione. This is part of a system of economy in human metabolism, essential for survival. An adverse side effect of blocking cholesterol synthesis with statin drugs is that the selenium-containing antioxidant system takes a hit.
It is likely that the SELECT study contains a treasure trove of data that they haven’t yet mined. If they were to break down the selenium-taking men according to statin dose then a new picture of the data is likely. Those not on any statins would be likely to have a reduction in prostate cancer. Those taking statins would not have benefit, as the statin drug, especially as the dose gets higher, would block the benefits of selenium. Furthermore, it is far more likely that statins, which damage muscle and nerves as undesirable side effects and thus induce insulin resistance, are the most likely cause of an increase in any potential diabetes risk – not selenium.
This flawed study design points out another problem with studies done in America. The above data analysis is unlikely to take place even though the researchers are aware of the problem of statins interfering with selenium metabolism. Rather, management will order some bizarre and twisted sub-analysis of the data that somehow concludes selenium is a problem. Welcome to Big Pharma science in America, bought and paid for with your tax and health-care dollars.
The SELECT study, however well-intentioned it may have been at the beginning, has turned out to be a crock of crud.
Additional reading on statin side effects and vitamin E bashing can be found in my article, The Statin Scam Marches On.
For more information on tocotrienols read my article, Tocotrienols, A Mutli Dimensional Nutrient Powerhouse.
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