Bookmark Website  | Free Registration  | The Team
The Lounge  | Champions  | The Wire |  Schedule |  Audio  |  Arcade  |  The Top Ten  |  Historical  |  Email  |  Video

Is Vitamin E Lethal?

Recently the news carried the story that a researcher had discovered that taking vitamin E at a level of 400IU or more increases the risk of death. (Jan 2005, Annals of Internal Medicine) I was immediately suspicious because I have studied the scientific literature on vitamin E for over two decades and have come to the exact opposite conclusion. Hundreds of studies have shown the beneficial effects of vitamin E on numerous modern diseases including cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's, claudication, arthritis, fibrocystic breast disease, epilepsy, infertility, intelligence?you name it. This evidence comes from carefully controlled clinical trials and meta-nalyses and is published in peer-reviewed publications. So what gives with this new "scoop?" Why did it receive the headlines while all the other studies aren't?

Actually this new information is not new at all. The researcher merely investigated mortality statistics from existing studies and came to a conclusion that people should not take 400IUs of vitamin E (exactly what I have been taking for years and recommending to others) or they may die. In effect he wrote an editorial on other people's work. That is not science.

Although the writer conceded his conclusions may only apply to those who are already seriously ill and not to healthy people, that is the only balance given in the article. He examined 19 different vitamin E studies performed by others including almost 140,000 people. Surely it would seem statistical meaning would emerge out of that. But as science (and life) always goes, the truth is in the details?details too often left out.

For example in one of the 19 studies, large doses of zinc were also given and this can create a copper deficiency which can lead to heart and other diseases. Although a copper supplement was given, it was in the form of cupric oxide, which is poorly absorbed in the gut.

In another of the studies the group being given the vitamin E were much sicker to begin with, including larger numbers of smokers and higher numbers of those with coronary artery disease and high blood pressure. Of course there will be greater mortality in such a group, but it would have nothing to do with the vitamin E they were taking.

Another study was skewed by the fact that participants were also taking a synthetic form of beta-carotene, which has been linked to increased lung cancer and liver damage. You can't give vitamin E and synthetic beta-carotene to a group and blame mortality on vitamin E!

Finally, not one of the studies used the natural form of vitamin E. Vitamin E is a mixture of tocopherols: alpha, beta, gamma and delta. But only alpha- tocopheral was used. Not only that, but the synthetic isomeric form, D, L-alpha tocopherol was used in many of the studies. Natural vitamin E exists in only the D isomeric form. The synthetic L form is not produced in nature and may even interfere with the benefits of the natural D form.

The gamma-tocopherol has many proven life-lengthening and disease preventing benefits but when high levels of alpha-tocopherol are consumed these benefits may be cancelled by a kind of biochemical interference. Therefore, whatever gamma-tocopherol was being consumed in the diet may have been cancelled out by the supplements in the study.

When one is done looking at the details behind the headlines there remains no basis for suggesting that high levels of natural vitamin E are dangerous, but rather, when considering the entire body of scientific evidence, there is significant reason for believing exactly the opposite! So much for headlines.

Perhaps more important than the misleading nature of the story is the reason why it would receive top billing. News organizations seem to be fiendishly rubbing their hands together just waiting for any little tidbit that could debunk the value of supplements or a natural approach to health. (They receive huge advertising dollars from the pharmaceutical and other medical industries.) Of course the medical community is right there ready to pile on as well. They have a vested interest in maintaining the popular mindset that disease is just one of those things that happen, that people are victims of disease, and doctors are needed for repair. The notion that supplements, food, and lifestyle can prevent or cure disease threatens their grip and profitability.

Never mind that modern health care is the greatest threat to life and health, killing more people than any other cause. (Wysong e-Health Letter: June 19, 2002) That's not worthy of news, but scaring people away from supplements based upon a flawed study is. We do not live in a rational world.

Is vitamin E supplementation necessary? No, not if you are eating a varied diet of raw, organic, natural foods, living out of doors, exercising daily and are not subject to any workplace or other environmental pollutants. If that is not how you are living, then 400IU of a natural vitamin E tocopherol mix is a very good idea. It is logical since it replaces what would be present in a natural raw diet and helps offset modern toxins, pollutants and stresses. It is also supported by a mountain of good scientific research.

Dr. Wysong is a former veterinary clinician and surgeon, college instructor in human anatomy, physiology and the origin of life, inventor of numerous medical, surgical, nutritional, athletic and fitness products and devices, research director for the present company by his name and founder of the philanthropic Wysong Institute. He is author of The Creation-Evolution Controversy now in its eleventh printing, a new two volume set on philosophy for living, several books on nutrition, prevention and health for people and animals and over 15 years of monthly health newsletters. He may be contacted at and a free subscription to his e-Health Letter is available at


Medications and supplements often out of reach for impoverished families
This program helps impoverished families who have children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. For this wish, we are trying to raise enough money to provide over-the-countyer cold and cough mediciations and nutritional supplements for ...

Business Insider

Most dietary supplements are useless, but here are the ones you should take
Business Insider
Marketed as necessary for weight gain and muscle building, protein is one of the best-selling supplements in the US. On the one hand, protein is good for you — it helps build muscles. But most Americans get plenty of protein in their diets. In fact ...

and more »

Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)

Feds crack down on miracle supplements, Georgia product too
Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)
Those claims were actually made in the sometimes murky world of dietary supplements. The Federal Trade Commission this month announced the latest actions in a year-long “sweep” involving several federal agencies targeting illegal marketing of dietary ...

Dietary supplement firms slammed
Except for cases of outright fraud, one of the few areas of our lives left a little unregulated by government has been dietary supplements. The 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act largely has protected supplement companies – until now.
How effective are diet food, dietary supplements?Times of India

all 2 news articles »

'Bananas!' Academic compares supplements to Big Tobacco, calls for more state ...
“While better federal oversight for dietary supplements remains essential, states may also proactively engage in regulatory activities to minimize harm from dietary supplements to their citizens,” writes Ranjani Starr from the Department of Public ...
Q&A: What's going on with dietary supplements?Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Carson, supplementsNaples Daily News

all 5 news articles »


Another Really Bad Week For The Supplements Industry, Including Criminal Charges
In the largely unregulated world of dietary supplements, it's like the Wild West. Dramatic claims abound, most of them unsupported by evidence, and it's hard to know if any of them can be trusted. Supplement manufacturers claim their products cure ...

and more »

Research and Markets: Pet Supplements in the U.S., 5th Edition - with a ...
Business Wire (press release)
Growth in pet supplement sales somewhat lags overall pet product sales growth in the U.S., with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.7% between 2010 and 2014 advancing the pet supplement market to $541 million 2014. In response to this ongoing ...

Times of India

Vitamin D supplements have no effect on frequency and severity of colds in ...
Vitamin D supplements do not reduce the number or severity of colds in asthma patients, according to a new study published online ahead of print publication in the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
Vitamin D doesn't cut cold in asthma patientsTimes of India

all 4 news articles » (press release) (blog)

Natural Supplements for Healthier Turkeys (press release) (blog)
For example, at the USDA-ARS Poultry Production and Products Safety Research Unit in Fayetteville, Arkansas, scientists are studying the effects of adding natural supplements such as yeast and vitamin D to turkey feed to help keep them healthy and ...

and more »

Washington Post

Well | Makers of Nutritional Supplements Charged in Federal Sweep
New York Times (blog)
A yearlong federal investigation into the dietary supplement industry has resulted in a widespread crackdown on the sale of tainted or misleading products. The Justice Department said on Tuesday that it filed criminal and civil enforcement actions ...
Dietary supplements industry in crosshairs as law enforcement announces chargesWashington Post
Justice Department Announces Criminal Charges Against Dietary Supplement FirmsNPR
US says supplements billed as natural can be toxicCBS News
Reuters -STAT
all 320 news articles »

Google News


Section Site Map - Submit News - Feedback - Comments - Advertise with Us

Copyright LLC. All rights reserved.