Vitamin E, Selenium Supplement Do Not Prevent Cataracts

First Posted: Sep 20, 2014 06:58 AM EDT

A latest review states that daily supplement of selenium and vitamin E does not have any profound effect on the development cataracts in men.

Studies conducted earlier including animal studies have revealed that dietary nutrients have a striking effect on the onset and progression of cataracts. Out of all, vitamin E and selenium have grabbed the interest of the health experts.

Vitamin E is the key to strong immunity and healthy skin and eyes. It is naturally found in some foods like eggs, fortifies cereals, fruits and green leafy vegetables. Vitamin E was listed as an excellent source of the vitamin that helps in keeping the eyes healthy and lowering the risk of cataracts. Studies conducted in the past have revealed that women taking vitamin E were at a lower risk of cataract by almost 14 percent.

But the latest study, conducted by researchers at Brigham & Women's Hospital in collaboration with Harvard Medical School, challenges the previous findings by claiming daily supplements of selenium and/or vitamin E do not offer any significant benefit on the development of age-related cataracts in men.

The latest finding is based on the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT) Eye Endpoints (SEE) Study. The See study was an ancillary study of SELECT - a randomized placebo-controlled trial of selenium, vitamin E and the combination of the two in prostate cancer prevention among 35,533 men. It included black men aged 50 years and other men aged 55 years and older. As part of the study, the researchers were asked to report the diagnosis of cataract or removal since the beginning of the trial. The SELECT group included 11,267 men.

It was noticed that during an average of 5.6 years of treatment and follow-up, nearly 389 cases of cataracts were reported. A total of 185 cases of cataracts were seen in the selenium group and 204 cataract cases were seen in the group that didn't take selenium. A total of 197 cases of cataract were seen in vitamin E group and 192 in the group that didn't take vitamin E.

"These randomized trial data from a large cohort of apparently healthy men indicate that long-term daily supplemental use of vitamin E has no material impact on cataract incidence. The data also exclude any large beneficial effect on cataract for long-term supplemental use of selenium, with or without vitamin E, although a smaller but potentially important beneficial effect could not be ruled out."

The finding was documented in JAMA Ophthalmol.

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