Many of us are trying to live our healthiest life, and as part of that, sometimes we turn to supplements to ensure we’re getting the necessary vitamins and minerals. But just because something is a vitamin doesn’t necessarily make it safe! In fact, there’s one vitamin whose synthetic version has been linked to many different health risks, including cancer. What is it, what should you know, and what are the next steps to keep you safe?
Synthetic Vitamin E Risks
This supplement is known as Alpha-tocopherol, or A-tocopherol, and it is a synthetic version of vitamin E. For over ten years, the medical and scientific community has known about the risks of Alpha-tocopherol, but it is still being used in many products. Alpha-tocopherol has been linked to several kinds of cancers, including skin cancer, different digestive cancers, lung cancer, and pancreatic cancer. Not only does it act as a factor in causing cancer, but A-tocopherol can also have a negative effect on your liver. A study linked A-tocopherol to higher alkaline enzymes in the liver.
While your liver is supposed to have some alkaline phosphatase (ALP), too much can be dangerous. In fact, the Cleveland Clinic says that “abnormal levels of ALP in your blood can reflect damage to tissue or disruption of normal bodily processes . . . liver disease or certain bone disorders.” The amount by which your ALP is elevated can actually increase the severity of whatever illness you have. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
How Worried Should I Be About The Risks of Synthetic Vitamin E?
In a word: very. The risks of synthetic vitamin E are abundant, and it can be found everywhere. A-tocopherol is in many nutrient bars and powders, and a major ingredient in enhanced foods, like soy, almond, and oat milk. In fact, here is a list of some of the most common sources of a-tocopherol that may be found in your diet.
- Vegetable oils
- Sunflower oil
- Corn oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Olive oil
- Nuts and seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Peanut butter
- Canned tomato sauce
- Rainbow trout
- Canned asparagus
- Blackberries (6)
Supplements and Risk Factors for Synthetic Vitamin E
When you look for synthetic vitamin E, it’s important to know all the variants. Oregon State University says that “synthetic α-tocopherol, which is often found in fortified food and nutritional supplements and usually labeled all-rac-α-tocopherol or dl-α-tocopherol, include all eight possible stereoisomers of α-tocopherol.” So, it’s important to know all the different names; if you’re only looking for a-tocopherol on an ingredient list, you may miss it if it starts with “dl,” instead of “a.”
In fact, it goes on to say “individuals with pre-existing conditions may be at increased risk of serious adverse effects (including death) if one considers the possibility that large doses of supplemental vitamin E might interfere with medications, and possibly lower their efficacy or increase their toxicity.” Since supplements are often not regulated properly, you may be taking a larger dose of synthetic vitamin E than you realize. (6)
What Are The Risks of Vitamin E Deficiency?
Vitamin E is so important for the body, and it’s very necessary for functioning. When seeing all the terrible things that synthetic vitamin replacements put you at risk for, it may feel tempting to just ditch the vitamin E entirely. But that also carries risks of its own. Here are some of the risks associated with a vitamin E deficiency.
- Balance and coordination issues
- Decreased retinal function
- Neurological damage, especially in children
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Increased risk of miscarriage (6)
What Do I Do To Replace Synthetic Vitamin E?
Luckily, there are alternatives to a-tocopherol. One of them is tocotrienol. It’s a newly developed supplement, based on extracts from plants found in Brazil, that have been described as “cancer protection in the way of this natural-based vitamin E.”
Because tocotrienol is newer in the world of supplements, it may be harder to find. The doctor working with this vitamin supplement has recently obtained greater funding, but it is still hard to compete with synthetic vitamin E, which is being mass-produced and marketed by large companies. That’s why finding a place that offers reliable supplements, endorsed by health professionals, is so important
Although tocotrienol is not easily available, we have been able to gather some great vitamin supplements to replace synthetic vitamin E and lower your risk of cancer. You can find these products here (http://bit.ly/2OXjZAh) and here (http://bit.ly/2DOPea7)
You won’t be able to find these products in local pharmacies, so being able to have a safe and reliable source of tocotrienol is important for your health.
What’s Next To Mitigate Health Risks?
You can undo the damage from a-tocopherol by replacing it with the natural supplement tocotrienol, which gives the same benefits without the risks. It is important not only to make the switch for your own good health, but to tell friends. The risks to your health from these synthetic vitamins can be high.
But you can do more than just replace one risky synthetic vitamin. You can follow the Natural Health Resources newsletter to learn all about how to maximize your healing potential and unlock your best you. Or, if you want direct, personalized care and attention from someone who is a leading naturopath, you can book an appointment, either virtually or in-person, with Dr. Melissa Gallagher, right here
Cancer is a scary disease, and the possibility that accidentally taking too much of a vitamin could result in death is terrifying. Replace the risks and fears of a-tocopherol with the benefits and positivity of tocotrienol, and follow Dr. Melissa for more tips to help you live your very best life.