Vitamin E may protect against certain cancers.




Journal of the National Cancer Institute

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Consumer Data: Vitamin E
Professional Data: Vitamin E


Although it was discovered and isolated in the 1930s, vitamin E's function in the body has come to light relatively recently. Vitamin E is an extremely important fat-soluble antioxidant. It insures the stability and integrity of cellular tissues and membranes throughout the body by preventing free radical damage.

Because vitamin E is destroyed by heat and oxidation during cooking or food processing, eating processed foods and/or fast foods can contribute to a vitamin E deficiency. Meanwhile, good sources of vitamin E include vegetable oils, wheat germ oil, seeds, nuts and soybeans. Other adequate sources are leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, whole wheat products, whole grain breads and cereals, avocados, spinach and asparagus.

A recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the authors stated that according to previous studies, certain nutrients can protect against cancer. Researchers measured serum vitamin E levels before and during this trial. 1072 cases of esophageal and gastric cancers were recruited as well as 1053 control subjects. After analyzing the data, the researchers found that higher levels of serum vitamin E were associated with lower risks of these types of cancers. The authors concluded that, “our findings provide support for the role of alpha-tocopherol in the etiology of upper gastrointestinal cancers.”1


1. Taylor PR, et al. Prospective Study of Serum Vitamin E Levels and Esophageal and Gastric Cancers. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol. 95, No. 18, 1414-1416, September 17, 2003.