Williams Cancer Institute

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a group of eight fat-soluble antioxidant nutrients consistent with tocopherols and tocotrienols; it is found in foods such as plant oils, effs, nuts, wheat germ-green leafy vegetables, and whole grains, and also from plant-derived oils such as soybean, sunflower, almond, safflower, and corn; from the two groups of tocopherols and tocotrienols, tocopherols are known to eliminate reactive oxygen species, inhibit carcinogenesis and tumor growth, stimulate cancer cell apoptosis, have an anti-inflammatory effect and is essential for immune/endothelial cell function.

Vitamin E also upregulates the expression of cytosolic phospholipase A2 and cyclooxygenase-1, which leads to the release of prostacyclin, a vasodilator, and inhibitor of platelet aggregation in humans. The anti-cancer effect is explained by its action by breaking the free radical chain reaction, preventing lipid peroxidation, and protecting biological membranes.

Limited studies showed that it helps to improve hot flashes in breast cancer survivors and reduce the incidence of cisplatin-induced neurotoxicity.

There have been many studies investigating the association between the consumption of Vitamin E and the risk of developing certain types of cancer with no consistent results; some have shown it increases the risk of bladder cancer but reduces the risk of pancreatic cancer. In a study made with animals by Sayin V et al., it showed that vitamin E increased lung cancer cell proliferation due to its antioxidant activity by reducing reactive oxygen species, DNA damage, and p53 expression.

It is an excellent supplement for health as for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, but more studies need to be made regarding its safe use in patients with cancer.

Reference: Xin, J. J. (2022). Association between circulating vitamin E and ten common cancers: evidence from large-scale Mendelian randomization analysis and a longitudinal cohort study. BMC Medicine., 20(168).

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