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Over the past few decades, studies have suggested that vitamin E may help fight cancer. However, this research was conducted on animals, and when similar trials were done with humans, results of the lab tests were not the same. Still, scientists have not given up hope that vitamin E may have some cancer-fighting properties. Recently, researchers from Ohio State University have discovered that there may indeed be some benefits to consuming this nutrient when it comes to keeping cancer at bay.
The scientists found that one form of vitamin E prevented the activation of an enzyme that is essential for prostate cancer cells to survive. With this enzyme gone, the cancer cells died and the healthy cells were left unaffected.
"This is the first demonstration of a unique mechanism of how vitamin E can have some benefit in terms of cancer prevention and treatment," said lead author Ching-Shih Chen, professor of medicinal chemistry and pharmacognosy at Ohio State University and an investigator in Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Not your average vitamin E
Chen explained that these findings don't mean that people should run out and start taking vitamin E supplements. This is because most supplements don't contain the form of vitamin E that was found to fight off cancer, and the human body won't absorb the high amounts of vitamin E required to achieve the anti-cancer effect. Regardless, these findings are still exciting and suggest the possibility of a pill that could help people avoid developing cancer.
"Our goal is to develop a safe pill at the right dose that people could take every day for cancer prevention. It takes time to optimize the formulation and the dose," added Chen.
Other benefits of this vitamin
Of course, just because people can't yet take a vitamin E supplement to help prevent cancer doesn't mean this nutrient doesn't have other benefits. According to Discovery Health, vitamin E is an antioxidant, which means that it helps fight off the effects of free radicals in the body. Free radicals are substances found in the everyday pollution that people encounter and can damage the cells in the body, which is why it's important to consume antioxidants that may help combat them.
WebMD also touts the benefits of this vitamin. The medical news source states that studies have shown that people with moderately severe Alzheimer's disease may benefit from taking vitamin E, since it may slow the progression of memory loss. Furthermore, people have taken vitamin E to help with issues regarding male infertility, high blood pressure during pregnancy, liver disease and kidney problems in children.
Along with supplements, vitamin E is also found in certain foods. For example, FitDay recommends that the next time people want to spice up a meal they should consider adding some mustard greens to their salad. To maintain the full flavor and health benefits of these greens, individuals should cook them as little as possible or eat them raw. If mustard greens are a bit too spicy for some, they should consider other green such as Swiss chard, spinach and kale, all of which contain vitamin E.
People with a sweet tooth may want to dive into some fruits like like papaya and kiwi, which can be found at most local supermarkets. Individuals can even find vitamin E in vegetables or olive oils.
These findings may lead to a pill to help fight cancer, but that won't mean that people won't still need to get regular blood tests to help ensure that they have not developed this or any other disease. It's important for people to remember that when it comes to cancer, early detection is key.
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