Mental Health

Varied Effects

Assessing genetic links between vitamin E use and cancer risk

Genetic variation may influence the effects that various supplements have on individuals, say HMS scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. In a retrospective analysis of data from studies assessing vitamin E supplements and cancer risk, the researchers found that variations in the gene COMT influenced whether vitamin E decreased or increased risk of developing cancer during and after the study periods. COMT has three variants: met/met, val/met and val/val. The team found that met/met participants who took vitamin E had cancer rates 14 percent lower than similar participants taking a placebo. Among val/val participants who took vitamin E,  cancer rates were 15 percent higher compared to rates in placebo-taking peers.
Hall KT, et al., Journal of the National Cancer Institute, January 2019
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