|The Lounge | Champions | The Wire | Schedule | Audio | Arcade | The Top Ten | Historical | Email | Video|
Reviving Vitamin E Studies That Challenge Claims of Wonder Supplement Also Leave Openings
The last year hasn't been a good one for vitamin E.
Once considered a wonder supplement, an inexpensive and harmless pill that might prevent heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's, a flurry of recent clinical trials suggest it does none of those things.
Some even suggest there is a small chance it could be harmful in higher doses.
Yet while the oily little capsule apparently can't keep people alive longer, it refuses to die, in part because in nearly every one of the recent negative studies some caveat or contradictory finding creates a glimmer of hope.
It also doesn't hurt that the dietary supplement industry continues to promote vitamin E and offers experts to refute some of new research.
"It doesn't go away," said Edgar Miller, a vitamin E researcher and associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University. "Why does it keep selling when there are so many of these negative studies?"
The answer appears to be a combination of factors, including years of promising laboratory, animal and epidemiological studies; heavy promotion by the dietary supplement industry; and, more recently, contradictory findings within studies showing no overall benefit.
The required daily amount is 22 IU (international units). Many recent clinical trials have ranged from 300 IU to 2,000 IU.
Recent clinical trials of high-dose vitamin E have led some researchers to speculate that vitamin E in megadoses may increase the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, the bad kind.
When cholesterol is oxidated, it contributes to coronary artery disease.
There also is some concern that high amounts of vitamin E may displace other beneficial anti-oxidants from that average person's diet.
Consider these recent studies: In November, a vitamin E bombshell was dropped by Johns Hopkins University researchers at an American Heart Association meeting.
They pooled 19 clinical trials of vitamin E involving 136,000 patients.
In 11 of the high-dose trials (400 IU or more), the risk of dying from any cause increased 4%, compared with people taking placebos.
Prior to that finding, vitamin E had been considered, at worst, harmless.
"People take anti-oxidants because they want to live longer," said Miller, an associate professor of medicine. "What we showed is you don't live longer."
However, the analysis also suggested that lower doses of vitamin E (less than 150 I.U. a day) were associated with about a 2% reduction in deaths.
Researchers acknowledged several potential shortcomings in their study.
For instance, they noted that several of the high-dose trials involved people with various chronic diseases and may not apply to healthy individuals.
They also said the small size of several of the trials in the analysis and inconsistent reporting of health events prevented a detailed look at the effect of various doses of the vitamin.
"It's a very flawed analysis," said Julie Buring, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School who recently presented her own vitamin E research.
She also said the 4% increased risk of death was not "clinically meaningful" and could be a chance finding.
Women's health study
On March 7, Buring and other Harvard scientists presented their own vitamin E study at the American College of Cardiology annual meeting.
Once again, the vitamin threw researchers a curve.
Analyzing data from the Women's Health Study, a trial involving 40,000 women who got either 600 IU of vitamin E every other day or a placebo, researchers found that it provided no overall cardiovascular benefit such as reduction in heart attacks or strokes.
However, an analysis of a subgroup of women over 65 found a 26% reduction in cardiovascular events.
Buring said that although the finding was "intriguing," it was not supported by previous research.
She added that it needs confirmation.
Adding even more confusion, the study found a statistically significant 24% reduction in cardiovascular deaths among all the vitamin E users.
Buring also questioned that finding because there was no overall reduction in strokes and heart attacks. She said it was possible that it was due to other cardiovascular causes such as arrhythmias or heart failure, but there was no reasonable biological explanation for that.
"People should look at that further, but it could be chance," she said.
Buring concluded that vitamin E was neither harmful nor beneficial in preventing cardiovascular disease.
About a week after the Women's Health Study, another controversial vitamin E finding was presented.
The study involved 9,500 people aged 55 and older with vascular disease or diabetes who were followed for an average of seven years.
It found that 400 IU of vitamin E a day provided no protection against cancer or major vascular events such as heart attacks or strokes.
In addition, the study found a disturbing 13% increase in heart failure cases and 21% increase in heart failure hospitalizations.
That was the first time that vitamin E had been associated with an increased risk of heart failure, said lead author Eva Lonn, a professor of medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
"I am not convinced about the harm," Lonn added.
Indeed, a recent small study of heart failure patients taking a cholesterol-lowering statin drug suggested that vitamin E actually increased the statin's ability to improve blood vessel function and lower inflammation.
Lonn and the other researchers said a review of all heart failure events in large vitamin E clinical trials "is strongly recommended."
Confounding the heart failure finding was what appeared to be a statistically significant 28% reduction in lung cancer cases, although in a secondary analysis of the data the benefit seemed to disappear.
"The numbers are small," Lonn said. "We think it's a chance finding."
The researchers noted that other larger vitamin E trials showed no lung cancer benefit.
There still is some hope that vitamin E might help prevent Alzheimer's disease, although in May a clinical trial of 769 patients with mild cognitive impairment found it was of no benefit in delaying the progression to Alzheimer's.
In that trial, the patients took a mega dose 2,000 IU a day for up to three years, according to the findings in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Other vitamin E / Alzheimer's trials are ongoing.
The anti-oxidant vitamin enthusiasm of the 1990s is being tempered by clinical trials, according to a JAMA editorial that accompanied the Women's Health Study results.
"These hopes are now confined to modest expectations for specific disorders and there are concerns about adverse effects," the editorial said.
Vitamin and mineral supplements: Miracle potions, silent dangers or both? - Genetic Literacy Project
Physical Activity and Supplements Found to Increase HDL Cholesterol Levels
Much of what we hear and read in the media these days about lowering LDL or bad cholesterol levels is sadly misleading.Today I'm going to share with you some very powerful information which can have a dramatic positive effect on your health.
HGH - Avoid Getting Ripped Off
HGH is an exciting new phenomenon, which aspires to help us defy age, build muscle, increase vitality, and improve our quality of life in ways we have not yet discovered. Understandably, the public desperately needs and wants these benefits and is spending large amounts of money on growth hormone products.
Why Should I Take Nutritional Supplements?
Do you ever wonder why the experts keep saying that you need to take supplements? Why won't a healthy, balanced diet work?There are 3 main reasons that you need to take quality nutritional supplements each & every day. In this article, I want to go over these 3 reasons we need to supplement our diets.
Keeping Illnesses at Bay with Antioxidant Vitamins
Antioxidant vitamins perform many important tasks that our bodies benefits from. In recent years, a great deal of research has been done concerning the abilities of the antioxidant vitamins to prevent certain diseases, ranging from cancer to heart ailments.
Recommended Supplements for Weight Loss
There is a lot of confusion about weight loss supplementation, how to use, what to use and how much to use. In this article you will find the pick of today's latest supplements on the market and armed with the right information you will have the knowledge to burn more body fat and have more energy for the things you want to do.
Balancing Your Hormones Naturally -- What To Do First
One of the questions that I frequently get asked is "What steps do I need to take to begin getting my hormones in balance?" The following is what I suggest:Test your hormone levels. This should be done by utilizing both saliva testing and blood testing.
Vitamin E - Just the Facts, Ma'am
It is important to understand that we are ultimately responsible for our own well-being and should do whatever is necessary to maintain our health and assist our bodies in resisting and fighting disease. Since health practitioners agree that vitamins are essential for life and health, we must ensure that we receive adequate amounts for our bodies to function properly and to protect us from illnesses.
The Eight Week Cholesterol Challenge
When I first started down this path I was looking for something to reduce my cholesterol levels without giving me a heart attack. My doctor recommended Lipitor, but I had read an article in the American Heart Associations web site that indicated Lipitor and other statin drugs may possibly be worse for me than my high cholesterol.
All-Natural HGH Releasers- Does Neugenisis Really Work?
I began a quest to examine over 25 "leading products" in capsule, spray, or tablet form within the HGH field. Efficacy was examined, as well as product marketing approach, manufacturers reputation, and overall customer support and guidance.
Dietary and Nutritional Supplements: Know More About Supplements
At times, due to your busy and fast life, we tend to miss out on the essential nutrients such as protien, vitamins and minerals which are responsible for our good health. Good nutrition is the most important factor in achieving optimal health.
Vitamins and Minerals for Healthy Hair
A lot of people actually pay a good deal of money just to make themselves look more attractive and feel better about themselves, but what they don't know is that they can actually achieve this easily by keeping fit and staying healthy. Having lustrous and shiny, full hair is not always due to extremely expensive salon treatments but of impeccable hygiene and a good diet.
Lower Cholesterol Naturally Using a Smorgasbord of Fiber
With a high cholesterol and heart disease in the family, Phil's doctor had urged him to adhere to American Heart Association's low-fat, low-cholesterol diet."Your LDL cholesterol is 181-it's down only 7%.
Herbal Nutrition Supplements: The 5Ws
Herbal nutrition supplements are everywhere these days. So should you be taking them? To help you decide for yourself, here are the whos, whats, whens, wheres and whys on herbal nutrition.
Probiotics and Friendly Flora
You Need Probiotics For Better Digestion and Overall HealthInside your body there are thousands, even millions of living organisms. They make up two pounds of your body weight.
How to Know if You Need Vitamin Supplements
Taking vitamin and mineral supplements is perhaps one of the most controversial issues regarding healthy living. The lack of vitamins in your diet can be unhealthy, but too many vitamins can also put your health in danger.
Importance of Vitamin Supplementation
Vitamin supplement - why is it important?Vitamin supplement or supplements are very important for us because if we do not intake enough vitamins necessary for our bodies, the vitamin supplement will substitute for the shortage of the amount of vitamins in our system. Many times a good diet will be enough, but when it is not, the vitamin supplement will make sure that you intake enough vitamins for you to be healthy.
Health Supplement - what is it?So what is a health supplement? Health supplement is a term that means products made of one or more of the fundamental nutrients, for example vitamins or minerals and which is very beneficial for our health. It provides you with some specific (or a mix of) vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, amino acids, metabolites, etc.
That Brilliant Vitamin: Vitamin B
Perhaps you first read riboflavin at the back of a cereal box. Perhaps you first encountered folic acid from your first grade science teacher.
Truth About Omega 3
Since Dr Basant Puri, a consultant psychiatrist and senior lecturer at London's Imperial College MRI unit, released his findings on Omega 3 and its effect on brain function and depression, many studies have been performed regarding the beneficial effects of this fatty acid. Studies over the past two years have consistently confirmed that Omega 3, a substance lacking in today's "diet" is a key component in the brain's development and proper functioning.
Supplements and Drugs: A Hazardous Combination
As I have become more involved in using functional nutritional therapy in my practice, I have come to realize that many people are still confused about the safety and effectiveness of various dietary supplements. Because these products are "natural", many feel they are always safe to use.
Section Site Map - Submit News - Feedback - Comments - Advertise with Us
Copyright © 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.