Vitamin E Found in Soy May Be Most Potent

January 1, 2001

1 Min Read
Vitamin E Found in Soy May Be Most Potent

Vitamin E Found in Soy May Be Most Potent

BALTIMORE--Appearing in the Dec. 20 Journal of the National CancerInstitute (92, 24:2018-23), scientists at Johns Hopkins School of PublicHealth found gamma-tocopherol, a form of vitamin E not usually found in vitaminsupplements, is associated with a lower risk for developing prostate cancer.Supplements most commonly contain alpha-tocopherol, a synthetic form of vitaminE.

The researchers, led by Kathy J. Helzlsouer, found that gamma-tocopherol,found mostly in soy-based foods, appeared to promote prostate health byenhancing the effects of alpha-tocopherol and selenium. In fact, researcherssuggest that gamma-tocopherol has greater antioxidant benefits than itssynthetic cousin.

In a case-controlled, retrospective study that began in 1989, 10,456 malesgave blood samples and toe nail clippings. Of this group, 110 developed prostatecancer between 1990 and 1996. By studying serum levels of alpha- and gamma-tocopheroland selenium levels in the toe nail clippings, it was found that men with thehighest levels of gamma-tocopherol had a five-fold decrease for the risk ofprostate cancer. Also, it appeared that this form of vitamin E boosted theeffect of selenium and alpha-tocopherol in the body.

Brent Flickinger, a nutrition research scientist at Archer Daniels MidlandCo., stated that some test tube assays have shown that the gamma form holdshigher antioxidant levels at body temperature than the alpha form."Information is just starting to come out about gamma, making it anexciting area."

For an abstract of the study, visit

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