Fitness Basics   

Studies On Vitamin E In Cancer Prevention

Genetic and environmental factors, such as diet and lifestyle, are believed to be involved in the development of various diseases, including cancer. Speculation has been that 80% to 90% of all human cancers are induced by environmental factors and approximately 35% of them by diet. More and more convincing research data have shown that free radicals play a major role in the process of cancer initiation and promotion. Vitamin E has been shown to be effective in cancer prevention in various animal and laboratory studies.

The majority of human epidemiologic studies have demonstrated that high blood levels or high intake of vitamin E is associated with decreased cancer risk. For example, prostate cancer is a common type of cancer of the male reproductive system. In a primary prevention trial of 29,133 male smokers aged 50-69 years from south western Finland, published in the Journal of National Cancer Institute 1998, the incidence of prostate cancer was decreased by 32% in the vitamin E supplemented group. In addition, death from prostate cancer was also lowered to 41% among vitamin E supplemented men. The subjects were followed up for five to eight years.

In the U.S., serum vitamin E levels showed a protective association with lung cancer. Two epidemiologic studies in England demonstrated lower serum vitamin E levels in men diagnosed with cancer, and women with low plasma vitamin E levels had a 5 times greater risk of breast cancer. A study in Italy found a significant inverse association between dietary vitamin E intake and breast cancer risk. Breast cancer risk was 45% lower for women with the highest intake of vitamin E in a study in the U.S.

In Japan and the U.S., lung cancer patients had significantly lower average serum levels and blood levels of vitamin E. In Finland, patients with the lowest intake of vitamin E from diet had a three-fold higher risk of getting lung cancer. A lower risk of oral and pharyngeal cancer was associated with an increased intake of vitamin E in black American men. In a study of women in the U.S., the risk of colon cancer was 68% lower for subjects with the highest vitamin E intake. The decreased risk was largely attributed to the use of supplemental vitamin E. The risk of thyroid cancer was 33% lower for subjects who consumed higher vitamin E daily. Serum vitamin E concentrations were significantly lower in leukemia and lymphoma patients than in controls in a study in India.

In conclusion, higher vitamin E intake may enhance the body's immune response and thus stimulate the body defense system against diseases like cancer. Obtaining optimal amounts of vitamin E in your body may safeguard you from various cancers as mentioned above.


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