It’s not even shocking anymore. The mainstream media sinks their teeth into a single line, phrase or sound byte…they take it out of context, blow it out of proportion and then drop it in your lap as credible and noteworthy information.
This time, supplemental vitamin E increases risk of lung cancer…but smokers who take supplemental vitamin E are at highest risk.
Well, in all fairness, smokers who watch M.A.S.H., take walks or enjoy a hearty political debate are still smokers. So it really doesn’t matter what vitamins they’re taking – of course they’re at higher risk of lung cancer.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Washington, also contends that vitamins C, E and folate offer no protection against lung cancer.
Problem No. 1? The study results were based on a survey of 77,721 Western Washington men and women. Surveys are subjectivity at its finest and a poor means for garnering objective research data.
That said, their reports of a seven percent increase in lung cancer risk are hardly a concrete fact. Much less grounds for dismissing the benefits of supplemental vitamin E (provided we’re talking about a natural blend of mixed tocopherols).
What it boils down to is, studies like this are difficult to analyze. You‘d have to go back over all the members in each group and check out how each was selected to see if the groups are truly random. With statistics so minimal the tiniest bias would blow up the whole thing.
Plus, what kind of vitamin E was used? Well, they’re really not entirely sure. According to the published study, “the vitamin content of each individual’s multivitamin was estimated.” And since their estimates showed that dl-alpha-tocopheryl acetate was the form of vitamin E used by over 90 percent of subjects, that was used as the default.
Although alpha-tocopherol is considered one of the more bioactive antioxidant forms of vitamin E, the “dl” indicates that they were examining a synthetic form of vitamin E…a form that the body doesn’t necessarily metabolize the same as it would a natural form.
Another point to consider is that this entire study is based on subjective reporting—so just how compliant the subjects were is anyone’s guess.
In an article published in “The Daily of the University of Washington,” pulmonary fellow and study author, Dr. Christopher G. Slatore imparts that despite the reported statistic, the relationship between vitamin E and lung cancer is unknown—there are only speculations. But that, “this is one of the best studies for looking at supplements.”
The study findings provided only speculative data…but it’s one of the best studies? That’s still not the best part. The article goes on to say that Slatore has no intentions of studying the affects of vitamin E any further. But he hopes his findings will be useful to other researchers.
Granted, I‘m biased with pro-nutrient therapy motives. But I have to be honest…the entire study means nothing to me.
What I can say is that such a study flies in the face of so much data, from so many decades, that its value shrinks to insignificance. To pay it any credence at all, you‘d have to throw out so much research that you‘d be justified in throwing out this study as well.