Dietary vitamin E better than supplements to battle cancer: Researchers

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cancer prevention research, Vitamin e, Prostate cancer, Cancer

Dietary vitamin E better than supplements to battle cancer: Researchers
Dietary vitamin E in the form of gamma- and delta- tocopherol could be beneficial in battling and even reducing the risk of certain cancers, however the alpha- form commonly used in supplements has no such benefits, say researchers.

The study – published in Cancer Prevention Research​ – assessed the cancer benefits of various vitamin E forms that have been suggested to have beneficial effects in epidemiologic studies.

However the authors, led by Chung Yang from Rutgers University and and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, USA, noted that several recent large-scale human trials with alpha-tocopherol –  the most commonly recognised and used form of vitamin E – have failed to show a cancer risk reduction.

"There are studies suggesting that vitamin E actually increases the risk of cancer and decreases bone density,"​ said Yang. "Our message is that the vitamin E form of gamma-tocopherols …and delta-tocopherols … are beneficial in preventing cancers while the form of vitamin E, alpha- tocopherol, the most commonly used in vitamin E supplements, has no such benefit."

The vitamin E family

Overall, there are eight forms of vitamin E: four tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma, delta) and four tocotrienols (alpha, beta, gamma, delta). Alpha-tocopherol (alpha-Toc) is the main source found in supplements and in the European diet, while gamma-tocopherol (gamma-Toc) is the most common form in the American diet.

Tocotrienols are only minor components in plants, although several sources with relatively high levels include palm oil, annatto, cereal grains and rice bran.

Different forms

The authors said the two forms of vitamin E – gamma and delta-tocopherols – which can be found in soybean, canola, corn oils and nuts, could help to reduce the risk of cancers such as colon, lung, breast and prostate cancer. They noted that animal models have shown the two forms of vitamin E can block cancer formation and reduce growth in.

"When animals are exposed to cancer-causing substances, the group that was fed these tocopherols in their diet had fewer and smaller tumors,"​ explained Yang. "When cancer cells were injected into mice these tocopherols also slowed down the development of tumors."

The lead researcher added that supplements may not have these beneficial effects because they generally contain alpha- tocopherol – which the data suggests has no benefit for cancers.

“On the basis of these results as well as information from the literature, we suggest that vitamin E, as ingested in the diet or in supplements that are rich in gamma- and delya-tocopherols, is cancer preventive; whereas supplementation with high doses of alpha-tocopherol is not,”​ warned the researchers.

Need for supplements?

Yang added that for people who need to take a vitamin E supplement, "taking a mixture of vitamin E that resembles what is in our diet would be the most prudent supplement to take."

The research director added that it is important to further to distinguish between the different forms of vitamin E, and conduct more research on the cancer preventive and other biological effects of each individual form.

Source: Cancer Prevention Research​ 
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-12-0045
“Does Vitamin E Prevent or Promote Cancer?”
Authors: C.S. Yang, N. Suh, A-N.T. Kong

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3 comments

Delta & Gamma Tocotrienols

Posted by Guy Tobin,

Annatto has DES (Delta- and gamma-tocotrienol) of over 99% and tocopherol of between 0.1-0.2%. I would characterize this as more than relatively high levels of tocotrienols. Tocotrienols are leading the way in Vitamin E research and they have been proven to be many, many times more powerful as an antioxidant than tocopherol and especially in the absence of tocopherol.

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Inaccurate

Posted by William Bowers,

Take a look at BioSan Labs in Derry,N.H. There's is a bio-active whole food E,with the full ranges of tocopherols and tocotrinols,unlike typical vitamin forms.

Please try to be more accurate in your reporting,your reporting does not clarify that you are using the typical
off the shelf supplements from synthetic ingredients,there is a distinct difference.

Regards,
William Bowers

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d alpha e

Posted by Ed Field,

what about this type of e witch is natural and not mixed?

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