Monday, September 9, 2013

Scientists Explain Mechanism to Explain How Vitamin E Helps Prevent Cancer

Past bodies of research have suggested that vitamin E is an important nutrient in the age-old battle against many forms of cancer. A number of poorly constructed studies over the past five years have concluded that supplementation with vitamin E not only provides no health benefits, but may actually increase the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. As a result of the mainstream media’s desire to trumpet any type of negative information regarding natural compounds to prevent disease, many people remain cynical and avoid supplementing with the correct form of this crucial nutrient.

Vitamin E Influences Enzyme Action to Help Thwart Cancer Development
A team of researchers from Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center, publishing in the journal Science Signaling have identified an elusive anti-cancer property of vitamin E that has long been presumed to exist, but has been effectively buried under volumes of bad scientific evidence. Researchers working with prostate cancer cell lines demonstrated that one form of vitamin E inhibits the activation of an enzyme that is essential for cancer cell survival. The loss of the enzyme, called ‘Akt’, led to tumor cell death.

Lead study author, Dr. Ching-Shih Chen explained “This is the first demonstration of a unique mechanism of how vitamin E can have some benefit in terms of cancer prevention and treatment.” Chen and his team reviewed many past studies based on synthetic forms of vitamin E that concentrated a dominant isomer of the nutrient, Alpha-tocopherol. There are eight total isomers or mirror forms of vitamin E that are required in natural ratios to be effective against cancer development. Many of the prior studies were doomed to failure before they started because they used synthesized compounds instead of balanced vitamin E isomers.

Consume Nuts and Seeds Regularly and Supplement with a Full-Spectrum Vitamin E Source Daily
The research team, using a mouse model known to replicate human cell metabolism, tested different tocopherols and tocotrienols and found the gamma isomer of vitamin E exhibited the most potent anti-cancer activity. Gamma-tocopherol was found to be twenty times more effective than other forms of the vitamin in reducing the size of prostate cancer tumors.

This research suggests that gamma-tocopherol, working in concert with the full complement of vitamin E forms could help prevent and treat numerous types of cancer, especially those associated with a mutation in the PTEN gene, a fairly common cancer-related genetic defect that keeps the Akt enzyme active. Dr. Chen concluded “This is a new finding. We have been taking vitamin E for years but nobody really knew about this particular anti-cancer mechanism.” Sunflower seeds, almonds, pine nuts and spinach are all excellent food sources of vitamin E. Health-minded individuals may also want to supplement with 200 to 400 IU of a full-spectrum form daily to take advantage of the cancer fighting benefits of this misunderstood vitamin.

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