The verdict has not been totally clear on vitamin E's role in cancer prevention -- some research has suggested the vitamin might help to protect against cancer, while others have shown it either not having an effect on cancer risk or even increasing cancer risk.
But now, a new study in the journal Cancer Prevention Research shows that two forms of vitamin E -- found in corn, soybean and canola oils -- may have cancer-fighting properties.
"Our message is that the vitamin E form of gamma-tocopherols, the most abundant form of vitamin E in the American diet, and delta-tocopherols, also found in vegetable oils, are beneficial in preventing cancers while the form of vitamin E, alpha- tocopherol, the most commonly used in vitamin E supplements, has no such benefit," study researcher Chung S. Yang, director of the Center for Cancer Prevention Research at Rutgers, said in a statement.
Yang and his colleagues fed animals the vitamin E form that is found in the vegetable oils, and found that the gamma and delta-tocopherol forms of vitamin E worked to stop cancer from developing and growing.
Yang added that a past study in the journal Cancer Prevention Research shows that the delta-tocopheral vitamin E form stops colon cancer development in rats more so than other kinds of vitamin E.
Last year, a study of 35,533 men was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showing that taking vitamin E supplements is actually linked with an increased prostate cancer risk. However, Yang said that the vitamin E supplements in that study had the alpha-tocopherol form of vitamin E -- not the delta or gamma-tocopheral versions. Therefore, he said, more research is needed to see the effects of all the different kinds of vitamin E.
HuffPost blogger Craig Cooper, founder of Cooperative Health, wrote in a blog post last year that there are actually eight forms of vitamin E -- and some may have different effects than others on cancer.