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Vitamin K, beta-carotene, selenium and more help reduce cancer risk

Vitamin K protected against non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, undernourished Chinese men who took beta-carotene, selenium and vitamin E lived longer and had less gastric cancer, and ginger eased nausea from chemotherapy, several new studies reveal.

Doctors from the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, tested a new theory that vitamin K may protect against non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (n-HL). Researchers measured the diets and supplement use of 603 people newly diagnosed with n-HL, and of 1,007 cancer-free people of similar age and lifestyle. In the first finding of its kind, those who consumed the most vitamin K—more than 108 mcg per day—were 45 percent less likely to develop n-HL compared to those who consumed less than 39 mcg per day.

Researchers in a vitamin study said that residents of Linxian, China, are undernourished and have high rates of esophageal and gastric cancers. For seven years, 29,584 Linxian villagers, aged 40 to 69, took a combination of 50 mcg of selenium, 400 IU of vitamin E and 15 mg of beta-carotene per day, or several other vitamin combinations. Compared to all other groups two years later, those in the selenium-vitamin E-beta-carotene group were much less likely to have died from gastric or any other cancer, or from any cause. A full 10 years later, the selenium-vitamin E-beta-carotene group was still 11 percent less likely to have died from gastric cancer and 5 percent less likely to have died from any cause.

In a chemotherapy study, 644 cancer patients who had reported nausea after chemotherapy began taking ginger capsules or a placebo three days before their next treatment while continuing to take anti-nausea/anti-vomiting medicine. After the first day on ginger, while the placebo group still had intense nausea, those who took a 0.5g or 1g ginger capsule reported little or none.

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