According to the American Cancer Society, 60,000 people will be newly diagnosed with bladder cancer this year. For some, smoking and genetics may be to blame. But, a new study on diet highlights the promising roles of two nutrients in reducing the risk of developing bladder cancer.
Eric LaBrant was diagnosed with bladder cancer at 30 years old. “No family history of bladder cancer,” he says. “I didn’t smoke. I didn’t work in industries that would lend itself toward that.”
Now, a new study shows vitamin E may have helped prevent the cancer.
“Basically, the results show that individuals with a higher intake of Vitamin E showed a 42-percent reduced risk in bladder cancer,” research dietician Ladia Hernandez, R.D., of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, tells Ivanhoe.
But beware, not all vitamin E is the same. M.D. Anderson epidemiologist Xifeng Wu, M.D., Ph.D., says foods containing high levels of the alpha-tocopherol form of vitamin E offer better protection because they can reduce DNA damage. Those foods include red and green bell peppers, spinach, mustard greens, almonds, sunflower seeds, and vegetable oils.
Dr. Wu says 15 milligrams a day is all you need.
Walnuts, pecans, and garbanzo beans contain a different form of vitamin E and don’t offer the same protection against bladder cancer. Another natural helper is folate, which studies show can cut the risk of bladder cancer nearly in half. Researchers say folate found in fruits and veggies is crucial for DNA repair.
LaBrant’s bladder cancer is in now remission now, but he says he’s changing his diet. “Especially now that I know I’m at risk for cancer in the future,” he says. He thinks the new diet will give him the extra protection — and security — he needs.
Researchers didn’t administer vitamin E or folate as part of the study. Instead, they examined the dietary habits of cancer patients and volunteers for a year leading up to each interview.