New research from the University of Texas has found that the alpha-tocopherol form of vitamin E may significantly reduce lung cancer risk, especially for those taking the highest levels of the supplement. The M.D. Anderson Cancer Center reports that the alpha-tocopheral supplementation decreased lung cancer risks by over 50% in their recent study.
Vitamin E has eight different forms, the alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocopherols, and the alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocotrienols. The current research suggests that the alpha-tocopherol alone reduced cancer risk, while the other tocopherols that were tested showed no effect by themselves. These are very important distinctions to be clear about, especially in light of the studies earlier this year which reported the opposite findings about vitamin E and lung cancer risks (the VITAL study). Summaries of these earlier findings did not detail the individual forms of vitamin E, while the new research findings from the Anderson Cancer Center does just that.
Alpha-tocopherol is currently the primary source in European dietary regimines, while gamma-tocopherol is the most prevelant in the American diet. It only stands to reason then that the wide-ranging survey conducted earlier this year in Washington for the VITAL study would not show the benefits which are believed to be specific to the alpha form of vitamin E. Consistent and independent reductions in lung cancer risk have been shown in the current studies at the University of Texas, an ongoing project whose most recent results were published in the most recent International Journal of Cancer. These new results are from the first study to compare the different forms of tocopherols and the associated risks for lung cancer, and so are a substantial contribution to knowledge in the field.
Making sure you are getting the right kind of vitamin E in this case is essential then, especially if you are currently or have in the past used tobacco products. It is a simple matter to check that you get the proper form of vitamin E, as every supplement you will consider will be clearly identified, front and back, as well as on the "Supplement Facts" label. One merely needs to look for Alpha Tocopherol (or Tocopheryl).
For more info about vitamin E and lung cancer risk, here are a few links for your consideration:
DSIB: Vitamin E
Orthomolecular.org: Vitamin E Prevents Lung Cancer
Nutria Ingredients: Vitamin E may slash lung cancer risk