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Heart Disease Health Center

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Vitamin E Useless in Fighting Heart Disease

Vitamin E Supplements Don't Reduce Heart Disease Risk

WebMD Health News

July 28, 2004 -- Taking vitamin E supplements is of no use in the battle against heart disease, and relying on them may actually keep people from doing other things proven to help lower the risk of heart disease.

A new review of research on vitamin E in the treatment and prevention of heart disease shows vitamin E had no significant effect in reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke, or heart-related death.

Researchers say observational studies showing that people who took high doses of vitamin E supplements reaped heart-healthy benefits have prompted as many as one in four Americans to take them.

However, this study, which looked at the data from seven large clinical studies, showed that six out of the seven major clinical trials have shown no proven benefits of vitamin E in reducing heart disease risks.

Evidence Lacking for Vitamin E

As an antioxidant, basic research has supported the notion that vitamin E supplementation may promote heart health by fighting damaging free radicals that are produced by the body and can lead to inflammation, which is linked to heart disease.

Although studies have shown that eating a diet rich in antioxidants may reduce the risk of heart disease, studies on antioxidant vitamin supplements, such as vitamin E, have produced conflicting results.

In this study, researchers reviewed seven large clinical trials involving more than 100,000 people on the effectiveness of vitamin E therapy in preventing or treating heart disease.

Researchers found six out of seven studies showed no significant effect of vitamin E on heart disease.

Overall, the studies showed that vitamin E had no effect on reducing the risk of nonfatal heart attack, stroke, or heart-related death.

The results show that benefits greater than a 6% reduction in risk for any major heart-related event are unlikely, "which virtually eliminates any important clinical or public health impact attributable to vitamin E supplementation."

Researchers say relying on vitamin E supplements without any proven benefits may actually keep people from adopting healthy lifestyles or using other therapies proven to reduce the risk of heart disease, such as aspirin, cholesterol-lowering statins, beta-blockers, and ACE inhibitors.

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