Higher Vitamin E Intake is Associated with Lung Health

A study published in the International Journal of Cancer evaluated the effect of alpha, beta, gamma and delta tocopherols on lung cancer risk. Until recently, studies of vitamin E and cancer have focused on the alpha-tocopherol form of the vitamin. However, the lesser known fractions (in particular gamma-tocopherol) have increasingly been the subject of scientific research.

In an ongoing study of 1,088 incident lung cancer cases and 1,414 healthy controls, researchers studied the associations between four tocopherols (alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocopherol) in the diet and lung cancer risk. Higher intakes of alpha, beta and gamma-tocopherols were found to be associated with a reduced risk of lung cancer. When groups with the highest and lowest alpha-tocopherol levels were compared, those with intakes in the highest 25 percent showed a 61 percent reduction in lung cancer risk. For both beta-tocopherol and gamma-tocopherol, subjects whose intake was highest experienced a 44 percent lower risk compared to the lowest intake groups. No significant association was observed between delta-tocopherol and lung cancer risk.

Since this is the first report of the independent associations of the four forms of dietary tocopherols (alpha-, beta-, gamma- and delta-tocopherol) on lung cancer risk, the researchers suggest further research concerning the various forms of vitamin E and cancer risk.

Int J Cancer  2008 Sep 1;123(5):1173-80.