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Vitamin E from seeds kills cancer cells

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., Dec 14, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Vitamin E from seeds, but not most supplements, might halt the growth of prostate and lung cancer cells, scientists at Purdue University reported.

Walnuts, pecans, sesame seeds, as well as corn and sesame oils, have gamma-tocopherol, which kills human prostate and lung cancer cells in lab cultures. The vitamin's presence interrupts the synthesis of certain fatty molecules called sphingolipids in the cancer cells but leaves healthy human prostate cells unaffected.

The compound is not found in most manufactured vitamin supplements, the scientists said. Supplements contain only alpha-tocopherol, a different form of vitamin E that alone does not have anti-cancer properties.

"It may be better to supplement the diet with mixed forms of vitamin E," wrote lead researcher Qing Jiang. "The study shows that the anti-cancer effect is enhanced when mixed forms are used."

The study can be found online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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