People with Major Depression may Lack Vitamin E in the Brain

Nov 12, 2004

Patients with major depression are reported to have lower levels of vitamin E. This study was performed to investigate whether this was from a low intake of vitamin E in the diet, or an inability to somehow absorb or process vitamin E. In this study, 49 Australian patients with major depression, aged 35 to 59, had their plasma levels of vitamin E compared to records for healthy Australians. These depressed patients had significantly lower blood levels of vitamin E than did the healthy population. Dietary records indicate that of the patients tested, 89% had met or exceeded the dietary intake for vitamin E. The study is published in the October 27th issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

This study corroborates previous research showing inadequate levels of vitamin E in the bloodstream of patients with severe depression. However, these low levels were not due to a low intake of vitamin E but some inability to utilize it.

Carotenoids and Vitamin C Decrease the Risk of Stomach Cancer

In a study of 18,244 middle-aged to older men, levels of carotenoids and other vitamins were noted before a diagnosis of gastric (stomach) cancer was made. The follow-up period was 12 years. 191 men developed stomach cancer. High serum levels of Alpha-Carotene, Beta-Carotene, and Lycopene greatly reduced the risk of stomach cancer versus men with lower levels. In men who didn't smoke or drink more than 3 alcoholic drinks per day, higher blood levels of vitamin C was significantly associated with a reduced risk of gastric cancer. The study is published in the November 2004 issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research, and is cosponsored by the American Society of Preventive Oncology.

Low Levels of Vitamin E Contributes to Inflammatory Bowel Disorders and Colon Cancer

Inflammatory conditions of the bowel and colon cancer are related to oxidative stress (free radical damage: the condition antioxidants protect you from). Similar increases in oxidative stress and cell damage are found in lab animals deficient in Vitamin E. Gene expression research shows that a lack of vitamin E increases the oxidation of digestive tract tissue and caused dangerous changes in the cell structure. These changes in colon tissue are potentially important in the cause of disease of the colon, and are a consequence of low intake of vitamin E. The study is published in the December 2004 issue of Biochemical Society Transactions.