Is Vitamin E Good for the Heart?
"I have been recommending vitamin E for high-risk cardiovascular
patients, people I think are at risk for having a (heart attack) or have had
one," says David H. Emmert, MD, co-author of the Archives article.
"But preliminary results from a new trial don't really look good from the
standpoint of protecting diabetic patients [who are also at high risk for
having heart disease]." Emmert says he's not sure whether those negative
results will translate over to nondiabetics -- and they haven't stopped him
from writing prescriptions for vitamin E, at 400 IUs (international units) a
For now, he advises patients of the potential benefits and low incidence of
side effects with vitamin E, and lets them come to an informed decision. But,
he admits taking vitamin E could turn out to be a waste of time and money --
though generic formulations are quite cheap. After reviewing available data for
his recent article, Emmert says his conclusion is that medical science hasn't
yet reached a conclusion on vitamin E and that more research is needed.
"I was impressed with the studies we looked at enough to recommend it to
cardiac patients," says the co-author of the article, Jeffrey T. Kirchner,
DO, a family practitioner at the Lancaster General Hospital in
"[But] we're still going to preach lifestyle changes. We're still going
to harp on the exercise and nonsmoking regimen," he adds.
- There are many studies touting the cardioprotective effects of vitamin E,
but getting enough of it from your diet would result in consuming too much
- Vitamin E works by detoxifying free radicals, which cause damage to artery
- There are no conclusions as to whether everyone can benefit form taking
vitamin E supplements or what the appropriate dose should be.