Study: Vitamin E may do more harm than good
- 11-10-2004, 03:35 PM
Study: Vitamin E may do more harm than good
Research finds those taking supplement died earlier
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (Reuters) -- Vitamin E supplements, which millions take in the hope of longer, healthier lives, may do more harm than good, researchers reported on Wednesday.
In fact, people taking high doses of vitamin E may in some cases be more likely to die earlier, although the reasons are not clear, said Dr. Edgar Miller of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, who led the study.
"I think people take vitamin E because they think it is going to make you live longer, but this (study) doesn't support that," Miller told reporters.
The Council for Responsible Nutrition, a trade group for supplement makers, criticized the report.
"This is an unfortunate misdirection of science in an attempt to make something out of nothing for the sake of headlines," said the group's John Hathcock.
Miller and colleagues re-analyzed 19 studies of vitamin E and health between 1993 and 2004. The trials involved more than 136,000 mostly elderly patients in North America, Europe and China.
People who took 200 international units of vitamin E a day or more died at a higher rate during the study, which lasted three years, than people who did not take supplements, they told a meeting of the American Heart Association.
"It's about a 5 percent increased risk at 45 years in the trials pooled together," Miller said.
"That doesn't sound like a lot but if you apply it to 25 percent of the (U.S.) adult population taking vitamin E, that is significant."
Miller, whose findings are also being published online by the Annals of Internal Medicine, said two-thirds of people who take vitamin E supplements take 400 IU or more.
"We don't think that people need to take vitamin E supplements, that they get enough from the diet," he said. Nuts, oils, whole grains and green leafy vegetables are all rich in vitamin E.
The average U.S. diet supplies six to 10 IU of E, Miller said. The Institute of Medicine, which sets recommended doses of vitamins and minerals, gives 1,500 IU of E as a daily upper limit.
"I would say it is too high," Miller said. The U.S. government's Food and Drug Administration is barred by law from regulating dietary supplements so the limits are voluntary.
People take large doses of vitamin E in the belief that it helps counter oxidation by unstable "free radical" molecules, which damages cells and can accelerate aging and lead to heart disease and cancer.
Miller, who was surprised by the findings of the study, said there could be several ways the vitamin supplementation is damaging the body.
While vitamin E in low doses is a powerful antioxidant, in higher doses its effects may promote oxidative damage, and may also overwhelm the body's natural antioxidants, he said.
Dr. Raymond Gibbons of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said the evidence has been building against vitamin E supplements.
"Despite this ... I see many, many patients still taking vitamin E and I have to convince them not to," he told a separate news conference.
- 11-10-2004, 04:06 PM
Do you know who funded this study?
There are a ton of positive studies on vit E supplementation. A single study should be taken as a grain of salt. Studies are only relevant if they can be repeated with the same results dozens if not hundreds of times by different people and organizations.
When a pharm sponsored study shows that vit E and vit C is unhealthy for you, the study should be $suspect$ until an un-biased sponsor can repeat the same study many times over.
The first rule in reading a study is to first identify the sponsor of the study. Many times they'll hide behind a legit, prestigious institution and have them "twist" parameters in the study to lead to their expected conclusions. If the study is not in their favor, they'll pull the funding and never get the results published. That's why you never see long-term studies on ADD and SSRI meds by the pharm industry.
11-10-2004, 04:40 PM
I haven't seen the study, or who funded it. I'm interested as well. Every organization has an agenda. Although this study was conducted at Johns Hopkins, I'm not sure if there was any organization as a backer or if it was funded by the University.
11-10-2004, 05:05 PM
jweave, I remembered a few studies in the past which showed similar results.
The criticism of those studies were that they used synthetic (dl) and not the natural d-alpha-tocopherol version.
11-10-2004, 05:12 PM
Although i use d/natural vit E, there is absolutely nothing wrong or harmful with dl/synthetic vit E except that it's bioavailibility is ~30% less than the d-version.Originally Posted by MarcusG
11-10-2004, 05:31 PM
Originally Posted by lancelot
I thought it was 50% less.
Anyway natural vitamins are also supposed to be different in molecular geometry - being the 'right handed' version. Sort of like ALA/R-ALA. And they should come with co-factors which have synergistic effects (flavionoids/carotenoids/ tocopherols).
11-11-2004, 11:59 AM
Damm, I've been taking 600 i.u. for 3 years now. I hope this is just an attempt to demonize supplements.
The only negative thing I have heard is that high doses of vitamin E (800 i.u. or higher) can temporarily increase your blood pressure according to Dr. Balch in the Nutritional Healing book.
11-11-2004, 01:35 PM
vit E is fat soluble. you only need 200-400iu everyday. I've been on 400iu every day since 92'. Dr. Balch is a God and his book is a lifesaver, literally. get it, read it!Originally Posted by Iron Warrior
The pharm industry will always try to "demonize" vitamins and herbs. It's direct competition. Always pick natural over synthetic crap. They don't care about your health only your money.
11-11-2004, 02:00 PM
I agree that the pharm industry will demonize and villify supplements with no shame, so they may have their dollars. But can you say with some degree of certainty the pharm industry is really pushing this?
I'm playing Devil's Advocate here because I am usually on the pro-supplelemt side
11-11-2004, 04:17 PM
The study itself states it has no evidence to back up vitamin E specifically as the cause!!
Tests are always random they have no proof its even the vitamin e!!!
11-11-2004, 05:17 PM
I would also love to know if the conducted study used the dl-alpha or the d-alpha...this would make a world of difference!
It's like when doctors were telling patients that chromium causes cancer and everyone freaked because their multi's contained chromium, but what the docs failed to tell their patients is that there are different forms of chromium...trivalent chromium (chromium 3) found in nature and essential for sugar metabolism--the form found in supplements; and also the hexavalent (chromium 6), a byproduct of metal fabrication and pollutants...guess which one caused the cancer??? HELLO!
11-12-2004, 04:38 AM
We should join in strength and immediately push the FDA to BAN Vitamin E,......if it was on the news it is obviously a danger to society and should be Banned!
Whatever shred of "evidence" they have in their "negative" study should be more than enough for the FDA to act upon, and again, if the news reported it, "it has to be true".
BAN VITAMIN E!!!
11-12-2004, 04:48 AM
11-12-2004, 11:34 PM
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