So much bad science being published

Well, as a colleague wrote to me recently that with all the bad science being published lately it is impossible to respond every time, to read the science and come up with a response that ends up sounding very similar to the last rebuttal any way.

The biggest problem with all of these so called studies is that the researchers are evaluating nutrients as if they were drugs by using them as singular agents rather than as part of an overall nutritional support program.

This research is based on the SELECT trial, (Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial).

SELECT began enrolling patients on August 22, 2001 and enrollment closed on June 24, 2004 with over 35,000 participants.

Participants stopped taking supplements in 2008.

The initial SELECT report published in Dec. 2008 found no reduction in risk of prostate cancer with either selenium or vitamin E supplements over 5.5  years so the AMA concluded: “physicians should not recommend selenium or vitamin E or any other anti-oxidant to their patients for preventing prostate cancer.”

The Life Extension Foundation predicted this and the recent results due to the form of vitamin E used in this trial.

The final analysis of the SELECT trial results collected on the participants through July 5 2011 (three years after they stopped taking the supplements!) were published in the Journal of the Medical Association on Oct. 12 2011.

The men were given synthetic alpha tocopherol, ignoring previous research findings at John Hopkins School of Public Health in 2000, that 10,456 men with the highest gamma tocopherol blood levls had a five-fold reduction in prostate cancer risk.

In another arm of the study where selenium was given – in addition to synthetic alpha tocopherol – there was not a statistically significant increase in prostate cancer.

The authors commented on the protective effect of selenium but did not mention that alpha tocopherol displaces the protective gamma tocopherol.

The vast majority of vitamin E human clinical trials focus only on the synthetic alpha tocopherol form of vitamin E as if it were the only form that people require.

How Gamma tocopherol prevents cancers:

Gamma tocopherol scavenges reactive nitrogen species which can damage proteins, lipids and DNA.

Gamma tocopherol also prevents cancer cells from reproducing and spreading by stimulating PPAR-gamma cell membrane receptors.

PPAR activating drugs are being researched by pharmaceutical companies as anti-cancer drugs.

Gamma tocopherol induces programmed cell death of prostate cancer cells called apoptosis.

Gamma tocopherol also reduces the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) in tumors promoting cancer cell death. (To date these same mechanisms work for colon, breast, lung and prostate cancer).

Cancer is the end result of damage inflicted upon critical DNA genes that regulate cellular growth and maturation.

Mutated cells in the prostate glands of aging males are already on the verge of maturing into full-blown cancer.

With the research now in nutrigenomics it is well known that when genes swim in a healthy environment this mutation may be prevented or slowed and that is why taking a blend of antioxidants protects DNA expression.

There are many studies touting the protective effects of selenium and vitamin E to lower the risk of prostate cancer.


Dr. Ingrid Pincott, Naturopathic Physician, has been practicing since 1985 and can be reached at 250-286-3655 or www,

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