A Summary of Vitamin E Research for People With Diabetes

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In a January 1991 issue of Diabetes Care, it was demonstrated for the first time that vitamin E in patients with diabetes reduces protein glycoslation, which is a process where glucose attaches itself to the hemoglobin inside your red blood cells, contributing to complications. Also, a study conducted by vitamin manufacturer Hoffman-LaRoche of Switzerland reported that doses as low as 200 IU of vitamin E significantly reduced glycoslation.

In other vitamin E studies:

  • The May 1993 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that large doses of vitamin E improved blood glucose utilization and insulin action in people with type 2 diabetes. The study said that vitamin E is safe in amounts less than or equal to 800 IU per day, but could be unsafe at 1,000 IU or more per day. The researchers suggest that patients check with their health care professionals to see if they have any suggestions or opposition to taking 400 to 800 IU of vitamin E a day.
  • The November 1993 issue of Diabetes Care reported that vitamin E reduced plasma glucose, triglycerides, fatty acids and total cholesterol in patients with type 2 diabetes after a three-month test period. HbA1c levels were also significantly lowered.
  • A study in a 1995 British Medical Journal found that below-average vitamin E levels were associated with a 390 percent increase in the chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • In 1995, research conducted by Sven-Erik Bursell, PhD, of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, suggested that 1,300 IU doses of vitamin E on a daily basis altered the development and progression of retinopathy.
  • Other studies have shown vitamin E’s benefit on cardiovascular activity. In a March 1996 issue of The Lancet, researchers showed that vitamin E supplements reduced heart attacks by 75 percent in a group of 2,000 patients with heart disease. In a May 1996 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers showed that postmenopausal women who took vitamin E were 62 percent less likely to die from heart disease. Also, a 1996 study of 2,002 patients with serious heart disease was presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology. After 17 months, 41 members of a placebo group suffered from nonfatal heart attacks, while only 14 people taking 400 to 800 IU of vitamin E daily suffered nonfatal heart attacks.
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