Vitamin E And The Heart
Many scientific studies have been conducted into the possible health benefits of vitamin E, although a lot of these studies have been observational rather than randomized trials. Some of these studies have shown significant benefits of vitamin E. The Nurse Study, for example, investigated the use of vitamin E supplements by 90,000 nurses. It found that the rate of coronary heart disease was decreased by between 30 and 40 percent. A study of more than 5000 people in Finland found a similar association between use of vitamin E supplements and a reduction in the rate of deaths due to heart disease.
Despite the positive results seen in some studies, other researchers have found no such benefits as a result of the use of vitamin E supplements. In a large, four and half year randomized trail that investigated the use of vitamin E supplements in 95,000 participants who had a high risk of strokes and heart attacks, no significant benefit was seen in the patients who received the supplements of vitamin E. There was no reduction in the number of cardiovascular events or in the rate of hospitalization in the participants who received vitamin E compared to those who were given a placebo.
Doses of more than 400 IU of vitamin E do not appear to be able to protect the heart or promote good health, and may even be harmful. One analysis found an increased rate of death in people taking doses of this size. However, there is some evidence that lower amounts of vitamin E may be beneficial for the heart.
Vitamin E is a vitamin that is soluble in fat. There are a number of different forms of vitamin E. The most active is known as alpha-tocepherol. Alpha-tocepherol is an antioxidant, which can help prevent the cell damage that can be caused by free radicals in the body. The damage caused by free radicals is believed to be a contributory factor in both heart disease and cancer.
Many foods contain vitamin E. Leafy green vegetables, vegetable oils and nuts are all good sources of vitamin E. A healthy, balanced diet should contain adequate amounts of vitamin E. The American Heart Association does not advise that people should take supplements of vitamin E, or of any types of antioxidants, in order to receive their possible benefits. It is best to obtain them from the diet alone, rather than to risk the potential dangers of consuming too much vitamin E.
Vitamin E can act as an anticoagulant, preventing the blood clotting, when it is present in high amounts. It is, therefore, important to avoid taking more than 1500 IU of vitamin E a day since this could result in problems with bleeding. For the same reason, vitamin E supplements should not be taken at the same time as other drugs that can prevent clotting or thin the blood, such as aspirin and warfarin.