Greater intake of Vitamin E either as part of the diet or through supplements lowers the risk of liver cancer, new research shows.
Vitamin E is fat-soluble and acts as an antioxidant. Numerous studies have suggested that Vitamin E may also prevent DNA damage.
"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 in China," said Xiao Ou Shu, professor of medicine at Nashville's Vanderbilt University Epidemiology Centre, who conducted the study.
Liver cancer is the third most common cause of cancer mortality in the world, the fifth most common cancer found in men and the seventh most common in women, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reports.
Approximately 85 percent of liver cancers occur in developing nations, with 54 percent in China alone, according to a joint statement of Shanghai Cancer Institute (SCI) and Vanderbilt University.
To determine the link between Vitamin E intake and liver cancer, Wei Zhang from Shanghai Cancer Institute and colleagues analysed data from 132,837 individuals in China, in two population-based cohort studies jointly conducted by the SCI and Vanderbilt University.
Researchers asked participants how often they ate some of the most popular foods in urban Shanghai and whether they took vitamin supplements. They then compared liver cancer risk among participants having high and low vitamin E intake.
The analysis included 267 liver cancer patients (118 women and 149 men) who were diagnosed within two years of study enrolment. Vitamin E intake from diet and Vitamin E supplement use were both linked 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.