Vitamin E

Vitamin E encompasses different chemical compounds which are fat-soluble antioxidants. Some of these compounds also possess anti-cancer properties. It has two forms: tocopherols and tocotrienols. The most commonly found form of Vitamin E is alpha-tocopherol. It offers many benefits including neutralizing free radicals, protecting cells, reducing the blood’s ability to clot, and reducing the risk of some types of cancer

Vitamin E is naturally found in the following foods

Vitamin E is also available in the supplement form.

Vitamin E and Cancer

There are no studies that have reported successful use of Vitamin E as a standalone cancer treatment. It is usually used in combination with other drugs or with chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Here are some benefits:

  • It inhibits protein kinase c activity. This, in turn, affects cell proliferation or growth and differentiation.
  • Some forms of tocotrienol may also be effective against cancers like breast, pancreatic, prostate, and skin.
  • In some animal studies, it was found that vitamin E supplements increased the growth of lung cancer.
  • In a study, it was found that alpha-tocopherol along with beta-carotene reduced the incidence of prostate cancer in male smokers by a substantial amount. On the other hand, another study found no decrease of vitamin E on the incidence of lung cancer in male smokers
  • Cisplatin neuropathy has severe peripheral neurotoxicity in patients. Vitamin E has a neuroprotective effect against it.
  • It may help reduce hot flashes in breast cancer survivors

Key Points

  • Vitamin E is a generic term for multiple natural and synthetic compounds, all of which are antioxidants.
  • Vitamin E may reduce side effects of some conventional cancer therapies.
  • Vitamin E is included in a number of integrative care cancer protocols.
  • No published clinical trials to date describe using vitamin E alone as an anticancer therapy.
  • Vitamin E has low toxicity and is usually well tolerated in low doses.
  • Vitamin E can cause side effects as well as react with some prescription drugs. Vitamin E is contraindicated in some medical conditions. Caution and medical supervision are advised.


According to many studies, natural foods are the best sources for Vitamin E. If you want to take a supplement instead, then we advise that you consult a physician.

References & More Information

  1. Credit: Beyond Conventional Care Therapies
  2. Integrative Oncology Cancer Care
  3. Consumer Labs: Product Review (subscription required): Vitamin E Supplements, Cream, and Oil (Including Tocopherols and Tocotrienols)
  4. Dr. Axe. Top 15 Vitamin E Foods & Their Benefits.
  5. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: Vitamin E
  6. Charles W. Mahoney, AngeloAzzi. Vitamin E inhibits protein kinase c activity. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. Volume 154, Issue 2, 29 July 1988, Pages 694-697.
  7. Ming T. Ling, Sze U. Luk, Fares Al-Ejeh, Kum K. Khanna. Tocotrienol as a potential anticancer agent. Carcinogenesis, Volume 33, Issue 2, 1 February 2012, Pages 233–239.
  8. Sayin VI, Ibrahim MX et al. Antioxidants accelerate lung cancer progression in mice. Science Translational Medicine. 2014 Jan 29;6(221):221ra15.
  9. Heinonen OP, et al. Prostate cancer and supplementation with alpha-tocopherol and B-carotene: incidence and mortality in a controlled trial. J Natl Cancer Inst 1998;90:440-6
  10. Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta carotene Cancer Prevention Study Group. The effect of vitamin E and beta carotene on the incidence of lung cancer and other cancers in male smokers. N Engl J Med 1994;330:1029-35.
  11. Pace A, Giannarelli D, Galiè E, et al. Vitamin E neuroprotection for cisplatin neuropathy: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Neurology. 2010 Mar 2;74(9):762-6
  12. Barton D, et al. Prospective evaluation of vitamin E for hot flashes in breast cancer survivors. J Clin Oncol 1998 Feb;16(2):495-500.
  13. Natural sources of Vitamin E by Doctors Beyond Medicines

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