Saturday, July 21, 2012

Vitamin E May Lower Liver Cancer Risk

High consumption of vitamin E either from diet or vitamin supplements may lower the risk of liver cancer, according to Wei Zhang of the Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, and colleagues

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin which is considered an antioxidant and numerous experimental studies have suggested that vitamin E may prevent DNA damage.

Worldwide cases of liver cancer are on the rise, taking third place as the most common cause of cancer mortality in the world, the fifth most common cancer found in men and the seventh most common in women. Approximately 85 percent of liver cancers occur in developing nations, with 54 percent in China alone.

The liver is charged with performing more than 300 critical functions in the body; from cholesterol and glucose metabolism to clearing dangerous chemical and bacterial invaders before they can wreak cellular havoc. A diagnosis of liver cancer is frequently associated with early mortality and diminished quality of life.

The researchers analyzed data from a total of 132,837 individuals in China who were enrolled in the Shanghai Women’s Health Study (SWHS) from 1997-2000 or the Shanghai Men’s Health Study (SMHS) from 2002-2006, two population-based cohort studies jointly conducted by the Shanghai Cancer Institute and Vanderbilt University.

Using validated food-frequency questionnaires, the researchers conducted in-person interviews to gather data on study participants’ dietary habits. Participants were asked how often they ate some of the most commonly consumed foods in urban Shanghai and whether they took vitamin supplements.

The investigators then compared liver cancer risk among participants who had high intake of vitamin E with those who had low intake.

The analysis included 267 liver cancer patients (118 women and 149 men) who were diagnosed between two years after study enrollment and an average of 10.9 (SWHS) or 5.5 (SMHS) years of follow-up. Vitamin E intake from diet and vitamin E supplement use were both associated with a lower risk of liver cancer. This association was consistent among participants with and without self-reported liver disease or a family history of liver cancer.

“We found a clear, inverse dose-response relation between vitamin E intake and liver cancer risk,” the authors write, noting a small difference between men and women in the risk estimate, which is likely attributable to fewer liver cancer cases having occurred among male participants due to the shorter follow-up period.

“Overall, the take home message is that 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,” said Xiao Ou Shu, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Medicine at the Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center.

Conversely, participants who had the highest vitamin C intake from supplements and who had a family history of liver cancer or self-reported liver disease were more likely to develop liver cancer. There was no link to liver cancer among participants who had the highest levels of vitamin C or other vitamins from food.


The above story is based on the July 18, 2012 news release  by Vanderbilt University Medical Center

The research was first published online July 17, 2012 in the Journal of the National  Cancer, a peer-reviewed medical journal by Oxford University Press:

Wei Zhang, Xiao-Ou Shu, Honglan Li, Gong Yang, Hui Cai, Bu-Tian Ji, Jing Gao, Yu-Tang Gao, Wei Zheng, and Yong-Bing Xiang. Vitamin Intake and Liver Cancer Risk: A Report From Two Cohort Studies in China. J. Natl. Cancer Inst., 2012; DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djs277

Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C infection

However, you can take steps to protect yourself from becoming infected with hepatitis C virus and to prevent passing the virus to others.

  • Don't share personal care items that might have blood on them, such as razors or toothbrushes
  • Avoid injected drugs or, for drug users, enter a treatment program
  • Never share needles, syringes, water, or "works" (equipment for intravenous drug use) and get vaccinated against hepatitis A and hepatitis B if you are a drug user
  • Consider the risks of getting tattoos or body piercings. You can get infected if the tools have someone else's blood on them or if the artist or piercer does not follow good health practices.
  • Don't donate blood, organs, or tissue if you have hepatitis C
  • Practice safer sex if you choose to have sex. Don't engage in unprotected sex with multiple partners or with any partner whose health status is uncertain. Sexual transmission between monogamous couples may occur, but the risk is low.

The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has more about hepatitis C.

The dose of Vitamin E in the above analysis is not mentioned but John Phillip, a health researcher and author, suggested 400 to 800 IU daily to benefit from lowered risk from liver cancer and chronic disease.

Vitamin E : Get more information HERE
  • Health Risks from Excessive Vitamin E 
  • Interactions with Medications 
  • Sources of Vitamin E 
  • Recommended Intakes

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