Vitamin E linked to lower heart attack risk, but only if used alone

Supplements of vitamin E may reduce the risk of myocardial infarction, but the effects seem to be canceled out when given other antioxidants.

Doses of vitamin E ranging from 400 to 800 IU per day were associated with a 20% reduction in myocardial infarction risk, report scientists from the Sapienza University of Rome and the IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Mediterraneo Neuromed in Italy.

«The fact that vitamin E, which is a known antioxidant, reduced the clinical sequelae of atherosclerotic disease may suggests the oxidative stress theory is still valid and that modulation of oxidative stress should be an important future goal to achieve to reduce atherosclerosis», they wrote in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases.

«It should be underlined, however, that the antioxidant effect could not be the only mechanism accounting for the anti-atherosclerotic property as vitamin E possesses other anti-inflammatory activities such as inhibition of muscle cell proliferation, nonocyte-endothelial adhesion and inflammatory cytokine release, which are independent from inhibition of oxidative stress».

«This study, along with recent clinical trials reporting vitamin E supplementation helped maintain brain function in persons with mild cognitive impairment emphasizes the importance of consuming vitamin E. Clinical studies suggest that vitamin E supplementation may help maintain normal liver function in overweight and obese individual.

«Bottom line: Most of us do not consume enough vitamin E. On average, our vitamin E concentrations are lower than those measured at baseline in most of the clinical trials conducted during the 1980-2000 period. We should be concerned that suboptimal vitamin E levels in blood and tissues may be jeopardizing our health.»
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