Vitamin E may guard against prostate cancer

January 2, 2001 in Cancer Prevention, Men's Health, Nutrition Topics in the News, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

Vitamin E may guard against prostate cancer

High concentrations of gamma-tocopherol, the most common dietary form of vitamin E, are associated with a statistically significant reduction in the risk of prostate cancer, study results suggest.

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, conducted study of 117 men with prostate cancer and 233 cancer-free men. Concentrations of selenium, gamma-tocopherol and alpha-tocopherol were measured in plasma and toenail samples.

The researchers report that higher concentrations of alpha-tocopherol (the vitamin E in most supplements), gamma-tocopherol and selenium were associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer, but only the association with gamma-tocopherol was statistically significant. The risk of developing prostate cancer was five times lower in men with the highest levels of gamma-tocopherol levels than in men with the lowest.

The researchers believe that the protective effects of alpha-tocopherol and selenium appeared to be related to levels of gamma-tocopherol. The results suggest that increasing the concentration of gamma-tocopherol may magnify the risk reduction. 

Note: You can buy vitamin E supplements that contain "mixed tocopherols". That means they contain both alpha and gamma tocopherol. Many vitamin E supplements contain only alpha tocopherol.

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