Chung S. Yang -- director of the Center for Cancer Prevention Research at Rutgers Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey -- said two forms of vitamin E, gamma and delta-tocopherols, are found in soybean, canola and corn oils as well as nuts.
"There are studies suggesting that vitamin E actually increases the risk of cancer and decreases bone density," Yang said in a statement. "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."
The study, published in Cancer Prevention Research, found the forms of vitamin E in vegetable oils -- gamma and delta-tocopherols -- prevent cancer formation and growth in animal models in animal studies for colon, lung, breast and prostate cancer.
"When animals are exposed to cancer-causing substances, the group that was fed these tocopherols in their diet had fewer and smaller tumors," Yang said. "When cancer cells were injected into mice these tocopherols also slowed down the development of tumors."
For people who think that they need to take vitamin E supplements, taking a mixture of vitamin E that resembles what is in our diet would be the most prudent supplement, Yang said.