Can Vitamin E Reduce Liver Cancer Risk?

A new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute concluded that high consumption of vitamin E  from diet or supplements may lower the risk of liver cancer. Although we rarely hear about liver cancer, it is the third most common cause of cancer mortality in the world and a large percentage of these occurs in developing countries.

Data was analyzed from 132,737 people in China who were enrolled in the Shanghai Women’s Health Study from 1997 to 2000, or the Shanghai Men’s Health Study from 2002 to 2006.

In-person interviews to gather data on dietary habits were conducted using validated food-frequency questionaires.  Questions were included on how often participants ate some of the most commonly consumed Shanghai foods and whether or not they took vitamin supplements. Liver cancer risk was then determined between those with high and low vitamin E intake.

There were 267 liver cancer patients (118 women and 149 men) diagnosed between 2 years after study enrollment and an average of 10.9 years for women and 5.5 years for men. Researchers found that vitamin E intake from both food and supplements were associated with a lower risk of liver cancer. The researchers said ” We found a clear, inverse dose-response relationship between vitamin E intake and liver cancer risk.” “Overall, the take home message is that the high intake of vitamin E either from diet or supplements was related to lower risk of liver cancer in middle -aged or older people from China.”  Conversely, those who had the highest intake of vitamin C intake from supplements who had a family history of liver disease or self-reported liver disease were more likely to develop liver cancer.

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