The Original Cancer “Medicine”

You may have heard that vitamin E is not “safe.” Or not to take vitamin E because it might raise your risk of lung cancer, it thins your blood, or even increases your risk of death…
But studies show vitamin E protects you from at least 10 different kinds of cancer.
And we don’t need any new inventions or drugs to prevent cancer. All we have to do is recreate our native environment.
You see, cancer was almost unknown in the ancient world.

In a study completed just recently and published in the journal Nature, researchers looked at tissue samples from hundreds of Egyptian mummies. There should have been evidence of cancer in all of them, according to modern cancer statistics. And mummification would have preserved any sign of tumors.
But instead of finding cancer in nearly every mummy … they found only a single case. The hundreds of other mummies showed no sign of cancer at all.1
These results would be impossible if cancer were not an entirely modern plague. Statistically, it could not happen.
And it wasn’t because Egyptians didn’t live long enough to get cancer. The mummies had evidence of age-related problems like brittle bones and hardened arteries.
Even as recently as 1930, cancer rates were 460% lower than they are today.
But with the development of modern farming practices that strip our food of its nutrients like vitamin E, cancer rates have shot up.
The Oldest Cancer Fighter Is New Again
Vitamin E protects you because it stands guard on the outer layer (the membrane) of all your cells. It’s your cells’ first line of defense against attacks from things like pollution, toxins, and other free-radical damage that makes them older and weaker.
As an anti aging doctor, I’ve always thought of vitamin E as the original anti-aging “medicine” – the original antioxidant. In fact, did you know that the ORAC scale, which was developed to measure the antioxidant power of foods, is based on comparing foods to the antioxidant effects of vitamin E?
The ORAC scale measures the “trolox equivalent” of foods, and trolox is a vitamin E derivative used as the benchmark to measure free-radical fighting power.
Vitamin E works to prevent cancer partly because your immune cells rely on it. They must have it to keep you from getting sick.2
But vitamin E’s biggest effect is that it puts a cold stop to free-radical attacks on cell membranes, which can cause carcinogenesis, or formation of cancers.3 That’s why vitamin E is the standard for comparing antioxidant power.
Vitamin E blocks the formation of carcinogens, especially nitrosamines. These are cancer-causing compounds that can come from smoke (cigarette, chimney or industrial), and can also form in the stomach from nitrites in the cured (processed and preserved) meats typical of the Western diet.
The newest research is on prostate cancer. Prostate cancer may be caused by a specific kind of stem cell in the prostate. We are learning that one of the reasons why prostate cancer seems to come back is that most prostate treatments get the tumors, but not these stem cells.
A new study found that the gamma-tocotrienol form of vitamin E not only stops prostate cancer cells from forming, it also keeps any cancer cells from invading. And, vitamin E also sensitizes cancerous cells so that other treatments can kill them.4
And there are hundreds more studies on vitamin E’s effectiveness against cancer. Here are just a few:

• One study done just a few months ago looked at about 1,000 people and found that high intake of vitamin E reduced the risk of pancreatic cancer by 40%.5
• The Nurses Health Study looked at 83,234 women over 14 years. It found that pre-menopausal women with a family history of breast cancer who took in the most vitamin E had 43% fewer cases of breast cancer.6
• A study just completed in Cancer Prevention Research took animals with lung cancer and then gave them vitamin E. Researchers found that the delta-tocopherol form of vitamin E strongly inhibited tumor growth.7 In people, studies have shown that higher levels of vitamin E protect against lung cancer.8
• The Harvard School of Public Health did a huge study on supplements and the risk of colon cancer. The study looked at over 676,000 people and followed them from 7 to 20 years. They found that taking in more than 200 mg of vitamin E a day from both food and supplements reduced the risk of getting colon cancer by 22%.9
• And a study I read that hasn’t even been published yet showed that high intake of vitamin E is correlated with greater survival for all people who have gliomas (spine or brain tumors).10
• Vitamin E’s benefits can even cross generations. The same study reports that mothers who took vitamin E and other antioxidants throughout their pregnancies had children with fewer incidences of glioma.10

Many other studies point out that people with cancers of the cervix, colon, stomach, rectum, liver and pancreas all have low levels of vitamin E.
As it turns out, vitamin E is becoming essential in the fight against cancer. In fact, they even use vitamin E to protect people from the effects of some chemical breast and lung cancer treatments.
This makes vitamin E the most important fat-soluble antioxidant you have.
Eight Is Enough To Fight Cancer
What you may not know is that vitamin E is not just a single vitamin.
It’s really a group of at least eight “vitamers,” all with vitamin E activity, named tocochromanols.
Four of those are called tocopherols and four are tocotrienols. They’re all antioxidants, and each has its own unique health properties.
You may have heard of the alpha tocopherol. It’s the one you’ll see on most vitamin supplements. It’s also the one your body has the most of but be careful… you don’t want to start getting huge doses of it.
Not only is it the tocopherol with the least heart benefit, but when you take too much of it, you cause a decreased absorption of gamma-tocopherol. Gamma has been shown to have a lot of benefit for your heart and blood vessels.
Also, tocotrienols have benefits that tocopherols don’t have. They help lower your triglycerides, and your blood pressure.
Tocotrienols also lower your cholesterol by “attacking” a cholesterol-creating enzyme called HMG-CoA.11
Tocotrienols also work in your blood in other ways. A new study by researchers looking to help people’s brains shows that tocotrienols in natural vitamin E supplements build up inside the blood and protect your brain.12
What this means for you is that you need this important form of vitamin E to support normal, natural heart and blood function.
So, how do you get vitamin E that has the right amount of tocopherols and also contains tocotrienols?
Source #1) Oils – You can find high concentrations of tocotrienols in oils like palm, coconut and wheat germ. You should be able to pick these up at a health food store or specialty grocer. Keep in mind that soybean oil and sunflower oil have NO tocotrienols. In fact, the only sunflower (also called safflower) oil you would ever want to consume is the cold, polyunsaturated kind that you store in the fridge. This has the healthy fats.

Personally, my favorite oil is annatto. I first encountered it in the Andes Mountains. After you ascend the Andes from the east and start down into the Amazon basin, annatto grows in the foothills before you get to the dense rainforest.
The natives there recognize annatto as a powerful health tonic, and even use it as a dye. This is because annatto has compounds with a unique reddish-orange color that are chemically similar to beta-carotene – which gives carrots their color.
So, it’s not surprising that beta-carotene-filled foods like cranberries and carrots have tocotrienols, too.
Annatto oil is full of tocotrienols, especially the delta tocotrienol, and has almost no tocopherols.
Source #2) Eggs and Avocadoes – Eggs and avocadoes are almost perfect foods. Whether it’s vitamins, proteins, minerals or nutrients, they’re a great source for all of them.
Source#3) Nuts – I’ve heard nutritionists claim that walnuts have vitamin E, but they have very little. Pecans and Brazil nuts have a good amount, but the kings of vitamin E are hazel nuts and almonds. One handful a day will significantly boost your intake of vitamin E.
Source #4) Plants – Alfalfa leaves have a lot of vitamin E, but the seeds and sprouts do not. You can get dehydrated leaves at most health food stores. Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, parsley, spinach and broccoli also have vitamin E.
Source #5) Fruit – Black currants, blackberries and the avocado pear all have vitamin E, as do dried sultana grapes – raisins!
Source #6) Grass-Fed Beef – Do you know why all those nutritionists tell you that beef doesn’t have a lot of vitamin E? Because the only beef they know about – commercial, grain-fed beef –doesn’t have a lot of vitamin E. Grass-fed beef, on the other hand, has four times as much.13
Source #7) Supplements – Remember, getting your vitamin E from natural sources will give you a mix of tocotrienols and tocopherols. Plus, your vitamin E will have all its micronutrients, co-factors and minerals, just like nature intended.
But, most people are unlikely to eat a wide enough variety of foods to get enough vitamin E, so you can supplement.

• You’ll want to get a mix of tocopherols and tocotrienols,
• Don’t take too much alpha tocopherol. I recommend 200 IU (about 20 mg).
• Take tocotrienols a few hours apart from other sources of vitamin E so that the alpha-tocopherol doesn’t lessen their benefits.

1 David, Rosalie, Zimmerman, Michael R., “Cancer: an old disease, a new disease or something in between?” Nature Reviews Cancer Oct. 2010;728-733
2 Pekmezci, D., “Vitamin e and immunity,” Vitam. Horm. 2011;86:179-215
3 Marnett, L.J., “Lipid peroxidation-DNA damage by malondialdehyde,” Mutat. Res. Mar. 8, 1999;424(1-2):83-95
4 Luk, S.U., et al, “Gamma-tocotrienol as an effective agent in targeting prostate cancer stem cell-like population,” Int. J. Cancer May 1, 2011;128(9):2182-91
5 Bravi, F., Polesel, J., Bosetti, C., et al, “Dietary intake of selected micronutrients and the risk of pancreatic cancer: an Italian case-control study,” Ann. Oncol. Jan. 2011;22(1):202-6
6 Zhong, S., et al, “Dietary carotenoids and vitamins A, C, and E and risk of breast cancer,” J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 1999;91:547-556
7 Li, G.X., Lee, M.J., Liu, A.B., et al, “{delta}-Tocopherol Is More Active than {alpha}- or {gamma}-Tocopherol in Inhibiting Lung Tumorigenesis In Vivo,” Cancer Prev. Res (Phila). Mar. 2011;4(3):404-13
8 Ratnasinghe, D., et al, “Serum tocopherols, selenium and lung cancer risk among tin miners in China,” Cancer Causes Control. Feb. 2000;11(2):129-35
9 Park, Y., et al, “Intakes of vitamins A, C, and E and use of multiple vitamin supplements and risk of colon cancer: a pooled analysis of prospective cohort studies,” Cancer Causes Control. Nov. 2010;21(11):1745-57
10 Sheweita, S.A., Sheikh, B.Y., “Can Dietary Antioxidants Reduce the Incidence of Brain Tumors?” Curr. Drug Metab. Mar. 25, 2011
11 Schaffer, Sebastian, Müller, Walter E., Eckert, Gunter P., “Tocotrienols: Constitutional Effects in Aging and Disease,” J. Nutr. 2005; 135:151-154
12 Khanna, Savita, Parinandi, Narasimham L., Kotha, Sainath R., et al, “Nanomolar vitamin E α-tocotrienol inhibits glutamate-induced activation of phospholipase A2 and causes neuroprotection,” Journal of Neurochemistry March 2010;112(5):1249–1260
13 “Dietary supplementation of vitamin E to cattle improve shelf life and case of beef for domestic international markets,” G.C. Smith Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1171