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Vitamin E in diet can be preventive against many cancers

New Delhi, Tue, 24 Apr 2012 NI Wire

A recent study has revealed that the two forms of vitamin D namely gamma and delta-tocopherols that are commonly found in soybean, canola and corn oils as well as nuts may be helpful in the prevention of colon, lung, breast and prostate cancers.

Though, it has been a topic of controversies in many scientific journals and the news media that whether vitamin E prevents or promotes cancer.

"There are studies suggesting that vitamin E actually increases the risk of cancer and decreases bone density," said Chung S. Yang, director of the Center for Cancer Prevention Research, at Rutgers Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

"Our message is that the vitamin E form of gamma-tocopherols, the most abundant form of vitamin E in the American diet, and delta-tocopherols, also found in vegetable oils, 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."

Yang and colleagues, Nanjoo Suh and Ah-Ng Tony Kong discussed animal studies that was done at Rutgers as well as human epidemiological studies that have shown the relationship between vitamin E and cancer.

Yang said Rutgers scientists who conducted the animal studies for colon, lung, breast and prostate cancer found that the forms of vitamin E in vegetable oils, gamma and delta-tocopherols, can be effective to prevent cancer formation and their growth in animal models.

"When animals are exposed to cancer-causing substances, the group that was fed these tocopherols in their diet had fewer and smaller tumors," Yang said.

"When cancer cells were injected into mice these tocopherols also slowed down the development of tumors."

Regarding the colon cancer, Yang referred to one of the other recently published paper that the delta-tocopherol form of vitamin E was much more effective than other forms of vitamin E for withholding the development of colon cancer in case of rats.

This is a very good news for carrying out the cancer research to the next level. Moreover, in a recently held clinical trials in the United States and Canada, researchers has identified that the most commonly used form of vitamin E supplements, alpha-tocopherol is not only effective in preventing prostate cancer, but its use enhanced the risk of this disease among healthy men significantly.

This is the reason, Yang insisted, it is very important to distinguish between the different forms of vitamin E and conduct more research to know more about its cancer preventive properties and other biological effects.

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

The details of the study has been published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

-With inputs from ANI.

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