-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Oct. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists have
identified common genetic variations that may explain differences
in peoples' ability to process vitamin E.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant found in a number of oils, nuts and
seeds as well as brightly-colored produce such as peppers, tomatoes
and pumpkins. Previous research has found that vitamin E
consumption has inconsistent effects on the amount of the vitamin
in a person's body. It's been suspected that this is due to genetic
In this study, researchers led by Robert Parker of Cornell
University in Ithaca, NY, looked at two versions of cytochrome P450
4F2 (CYP4F2), the enzyme that breaks down vitamin E. One variant,
W12G, is more common in black Americans, and the V433M version is
more common in Americans of European descent.
Compared to the normal CYP4F2 enzyme, the W12G variant was
better able to degrade several commonly occurring forms of vitamin
E called tocopherols, while the V433M variant was less able to
break down these forms of the vitamin.
These enzyme differences may help explain normal variations in
vitamin E levels within and among populations, and may also help in
the interpretation of inconsistent results of clinical trials with
vitamin E, said the researchers.
The study appears in the November issue of
The Journal of Nutrition.
The Harvard School of Public Health has more about
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