Men’s Health Supplements Useless for Prostate Cancer

Categories: Winter 2015
A new study found that men’s health supplements offered no benefit for men with localized prostate cancer.

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Men’s health supplements are marketed to men for health benefits, particularly for “prostate health.” Researchers at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia evaluated the impact of these supplements on patients being treated for prostate cancer.

The 2,207 men in the study were undergoing intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) for localized prostate cancer. Ten percent of men in the study took men’s health supplements marketed for “men’s health,” “men’s formula” or “prostate health” either during treatment or in the 4 years after treatment. Many of the products were labeled as “clinically proven.”

More than 90% of the supplements contained palmetto, a plant extract that is often promoted as a treatment for prostate health.

After a 5-year follow-up, the researchers concluded that the supplements offered no advantage for prostate cancer outcomes. Supplement use was not associated with a lower risk of distant metastasis, cancer-related death or the risk of experiencing radiation treatment side effects. The supplements were also not associated with any negative side effects.

Dietary supplements manufacturers and distributors are responsible for the safety and labeling of their products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not review or approve dietary supplements.

The study was presented at the American Society for Radiation Oncology, held in October in San Antonio, Texas.

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