The AHA Advocates Vitamin E in the Fight Against Heart Disease


By: Ben Eastman

A new study shows vitamin E reduces heart attacks by 75 percent. Results like this, and those from similar studies, have led the American Heart Association to name vitamin E the fourth most noteworthy health aid for heart disease in its review of 1996 research advances.

Heart disease is of special concern for people with diabetes. They are more than four times more likely to develop it than people without diabetes.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge showed, in a study published in the March 22, 1996 issue of Lancet, that vitamin E supplements reduced heart attacks by 75 percent in a group of 2,000 patients with heart disease. A study of post-menopausal women, published in the New England Journal of Medicine on May 2, 1996 showed that those taking the most vitamin E were 62 percent less likely to die from heart disease.

Vitamin E is fat soluble. It is believed that the vitamin may help break up the plaque produced from free fatty acids that causes heart attacks.

The AHA recommends that people get “adequate vitamin intakes from eating a variety of foods rather than from supplements.” Judith Levine, RD, from the AHA says vitamin E requirements are an individual issue and should be discussed with one’s health care professional. She recommends that everyone make sure they are at least getting the recommended daily allowance of 100 mg each day.

Others feel that supplement intake is necessary to benefit from vitamin E. William Pryor, PhD, and director of the Biodynamics Institute at Louisiana State University states, ” … it is impossible to get the amount of vitamin E from foods that are being used in these human intervention trials. Therefore, it is necessary to take vitamin E supplements.” In addition, since vitamin E is fat soluble it often appears in high fat foods. Trying to load up on vitamin E strictly by diet alone, by increasing high fat food intake, could be counter productive for controlling heart disease.



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