Cancer and Vitamins

Good Day to All!
 
This is [Dr. Mike’s] January’s Newsletter.
 
I am going to use this occasion to partially explain why I only reluctantly use or advise supplements.

 
One of the longest running controversies in the area of supplements is the role of Vitamin E. Over the last 30 plus years various studies have shown some cancer prevention effect while others have shown a clear increase in cancer associated with Vitamin E supplementation. The pro-E advocates have argued that the flaw in the cancer positive research is that they did not use all of the various isomers of E while the anti-E studies have sometimes included the isomers and still found an increase in cancer. The strongest signal has been for lung cancer. 
 
Well, now, finally, we have found out why the conflicting results. Some of you will have guessed: genetic variance accounts for why some people get cancer from E and others are protected from cancer by E.
 
In a long term follow up study in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute, January 8, 2019, it was asked whether genetic variance in catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) exerted any pharmacogenetic impact on cancer prevention. The short version – all we here need for the kernel of useful truth – is that with one version of COMT your risk of cancer was reduced by 14% and that with another version of COMT, Vitamin E increased your risk of cancer by 15%. 
 
OK, should you pop or stop that Vitamin E caplet?
 
My answer? “Eat, whole, real food” and don’t take the supplements. At least until – and I look forward to the day – when we can pin-down the clear genetic pathways of food uptake in all of us. And, by the way, we are a long, long, long way from that day. COMT’s role in cancer is fairly well understood; but not very and that is a simple case.  
 
Until the day we have accurate, deep genetic models of nutrient uptake and exercise type responsiveness, your only reliable tool to guide you to a long healthy and vigorous life is longitudinal data. Everyone has an opinion, is selling something or claiming secret insights about what you should or should not do and how to eat and how to pray or relax or ‘be here now.’ There is only one nearly infallible guide: your own body and its wisdom revealed in numbers – blood and other metabolic and physical markers – derived over time and reflecting how your genetics, personality, and circumstances are actually, dynamically lived in your own body. 
 
There are many genetic testing services selling information on exercise genes, nutritional genes, and mood genetics. There are so many exceptions to the results from such tests that it is clear we are a long way from a truly accurate, useful test array we can relay on. 
 
Until the day such tests arrays are available we have to rely on the closely held secrets of your won body. 
 
In the meantime be sure to get your next quarterly set of tests and then ‘follow the numbers.’
 
Smile, Have Fun, God Speed,
Dr. Mike

  1 comment for “Cancer and Vitamins

  1. NTaylor
    January 18, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    I think the COMT gene is super interesting. I have found several studies linking it to pre-eclampsia, which I had, and would love to know more about. I believe there are studies also linking it to gestational diabetes and metabolic syndrome in women. I don’t understand the mechanism for its effect on Vit E (or vice versa) and how that relates to cancer, but it is clear that estrogen and estrogen like compounds such as supplementing with Quercetin and green tea also can be bad if you have a certain COMT polymorphism. Thanks for pointing out genetic influences on supplementation! This is very new to most people.

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