Why does Vitamin E appear to offer cancer protection for some but worsen the risk for others?
This is an interesting analysis, as it has always bothered me that Vitamin E supplements appear to be cancer-protective in some studies and possibly harmful in others. A new study, " What dictates how vitamin E supplements affect cancer risk?” published in Healthline/Medical News Today shows that both outcomes are a possibility and also explains why.
Shockingly the answer was in a genetic variation of different forms of a gene called COMT which metabolizes Vitamin E. Those variations are referred to as val and met. Since we all have 2 copies of this gene, there are 3 variations:
val/val - where Vitamin E is beneficial, showing 15% less cancer, including breast cancer
met/met - where Vitamin E is harmful, showing 15% more cancer, inclusive of breast
val/met - where Vitamin E is neutral for breast cancer as well as others
Depending on your genetic composition of COMT, you may receive a protective benefit from Vitamin E, a neutral effect, or actually become at higher risk of cancer from Vitamin E. Once again, genetics will change everything, even how we view confusing supplements like Vitamin E.