ongtime members of the Life Extension Foundation® have heard our warnings against synthetic alpha tocopherol many times.
In 1997, we reported that taking only the alpha tocopherol form of vitamin E displaces critically important gamma tocopherol in the body. By displacing gamma tocopherol, we feared that high doses of alpha tocopherol could increase cancer risks.
In fact, three years after Life Extension’s first warning, the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health released the results of a huge study (10,456 men). The findings showed that men with the highest gamma tocopherol blood levels had a fivefold reduction in prostate cancer risk. This same study showed that selenium and alpha tocopherol also reduced prostate cancer risk, but only when gamma tocopherol levels were high.1 Confirmatory studies document higher levels of gamma tocopherol to be strongly associated with reduced cancer risks.2-5
While both alpha and gamma tocopherol are potent antioxidants, gamma tocopherol has a unique function. Because of its different chemical structure, gamma tocopherolscavenges reactive nitrogen species, which can damage proteins, lipids, and DNA.6-8
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