Does taking vitamin E for cancer reduce the risk of getting it?
The mention of cancer frightens almost everyone. Many educated individuals are starting to realize that there may be natural ways to help reduce the risk of getting this deadly disease.
Vitamins and minerals have always generated a lot of attention in the prevention of disease.
But do vitamins actually have a role to play in cancer prevention and treatment? Some studies shows that it works, and other show that it doesn't.
In this article, we will look at some of the research studies done specifically on the use of vitamin E in the fight against this deadly condition...
There are many studies completed on the use of vitamin supplements in the prevention of cancer. Many of them show some benefits but other studies also show that it may not hold the answer to a cure for cancer.
Below are three studies which we will discuss the results. The references are included for your information.
In this study, the researchers evaluated the benefits of taking 15 vitamins and 6 minerals on the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
They looked at 326 patients with pancreatic cancer and 652 patients without pancreatic cancer as a control (for comparison purposes).
They asked them to provide details of their dietary habits and from that data, the researchers calculated the expected micronutrients that they would have received.
Here's what they found when they compared people who had the highest nutrient intake versus the lowest regarding on the risk of developing pancreatic cancer:
High vitamin E intake reduced the risk by 40%.
High vitamin C intake reduced the risk by 56%.
High folate (folic acid) intake reduced the risk by 44%.
High potassium intake reduced the risk by 43%.
By all means, these results only reveal a casual relationship since the amount of the vitamins each person received was calculated. (A more accurate method the researchers could have used was to measure blood vitamin levels.)
Nevertheless, the results appear to be consistent with what we have known previously about a diet high in fruits and vegetables and the reduced risk of different types of cancer.
However, not all research studies show that taking vitamin supplements reduce the risk of cancer. One follow-up study showed that stopping antioxidant supplements actually reduced the risk of skin cancer.
Here's the reference to this study:
This French study looked at 7,713 women and 5,028 men who took either a placebo or a combination of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, selenium and zinc (all are anti-oxidants) from 1994 to 2002.
Then the researchers followed up on these individuals from 2002 to 2007 and tracked the number of skin cancer cases.
The results? The risk of developing skin cancer declines once the antioxidant supplements have been stopped.
The authors commented that this study seems to support a causative role of antioxidant supplements in the cause of skin cancer.
It's one thing to hear that taking anti-oxidants like vitamin E doesn't help with preventing cancer, but it's quite another to find out that taking anti-oxidants actually increases skin cancer risks.
But keep in mind the results only suggest a link. This study doesn't build a strong cause against using anti-oxidants for skin cancer prevention.
Let's look at a study that showed that taking soy, vitamin E and selenium did not help to slow down the progression of prostate cancer:
This small study looked at the lab data from 303 men at 12 Canadian centers. The researchers focused on a type of high-grade prostate growth that is suspected to lead to invasive prostate cancer.
In this double-blinded study, these men were given either a placebo (sugar pill) or 40 g of soy, 800 IU of vitamin E and 200 mcg of selenium daily for three years.
Here's what they found out:
PSA (prostate serum antigen), a marker for prostate cancer, did not predict the risk of developing invasive prostate cancer.
Testosterone levels, age and body weight of the men did not predict prostate cancer risk.
The group taking the combination supplement did not have any lowered risk of developing prostate cancer.
Basically daily vitamin E, soy and selenium supplement did not help with preventing high-grade prostate growth from turning into invasive prostate cancer.
It's what scientists call a null result. The results did not support the hypothesis that taking soy, selenium and vitamin E for prostate cancer would cut the risk.
Should I take vitamin E for cancer prevention and treatment?
There seem to be conflicting results for the use of vitamin E for cancer prevention and treatment.
Although some studies it show to be helpful for cancer such as pancreatic and bladder cancer, other studies show that it may not work.
Newer studies now cast doubts on the benefits of vitamin E for cancer treatment and prevention.
So we won't recommend taking vitamin E for cancer prevention if that is the only reason to take it. At least vitamin E is safe and very cost-effective to take so why not? It will not harm you.
However, there are many other health benefits from taking vitamin E. Our article Benefits of Vitamin E reveals all the uses.
Most multivitamins include some vitamin E in their formulation. That may not be enough. You can top it up by taking between 400 to 800 IU of vitamin E daily.
We strongly suggest you review our article Natural Remedies for Cancer to discover many other remedies and vitamins that have been studied for cancer prevention and treatment.
There are many herbs, vitamins and supplements around the world that people use for the treatment and prevention of cancer.
See the article below for a comprehensive list of natural remedies for cancer that you may want to consider.