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Research summary of Vitamin E

December 2004 - Print | Index

"In the entire literature there are no reports of overdosage with vitamin E in any form." - Physicians Desk Reference for Nutritional Supplements, p. 519.

Benefits of Vitamin E
Vitamin E is found in every cell of the body. It prevents free radicals from damaging the cell walls. It protects the structure and function of muscle tissues, the pituitary and adrenal glands, the capillaries, red blood cells and sex hormones.

It can prevent sterility in males, and protects the lungs and blood cells from ozone damage. It is useful as an aid in treating fibrocystic breasts and premenstrual syndrome. It has been shown to improve circulation, heal wounds and repair tissue. It has been used as an aid in preventing cancer, cataracts, Alzheimer's, and cardiovascular disease.

Present Research on Vitamin E:

  • Approximately 30% of the adult population of the USA has low blood Vitamin E levels.
  • The average human diet supplies 10 mg (14.8 IU) of vitamin E (d-alpha-tocopherol form) per day.
  • The Institute of Medicine sets a daily upper limit of vitamin E at 1500 IU. The National Academy of Sciences has defined a "Tolerable Upper Intake Level" (UL) for vitamin E at 1100 IU for synthetic vitamin E (dl-alpha tocopherol) and 1500 IU for natural vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol).
  • The usual therapeutic dosage of vitamin E is 400 - 800 IU per day.
  • The optimal daily allowance (ODA) of vitamin E (for adults) is 400 - 1600 IU per day (in the form of mixed tocopherols).
  • The therapeutic dosage of vitamin E commonly used by athletes seeking to prevent free radical damage during and following exercise is 1200 IU per day.
  • Dosages of up to 3200 IU of Vitamin E have been used daily in a wide variety of subjects for periods of up to two years without any unfavorable (side) effects occurring.
  • Oxidated vitamin E degrades into Tocopheryl Quinone; however, when adequate Vitamin C is present, Tocopheryl Quinone is reconverted back to Vitamin E.
  • When Vitamin E is exposed to Ultra-Violet Radiation, it degrades to a free radical, Tocopheroxyl Free Radical, which can be reconverted back to Vitamin E when adequate Vitamin C is present.
  • The following substances can interfere with vitamin E absorption: chitosan, glucomannan, estrogens (contraceptive pill), chlorine, iron- as ferrous sulfate, pharmaceutical antibiotics, pharmaceutical antacids, the pharmaceuticals cholestyramine-colestipol-probucol, olestra, alcohol, tobacco, fish oils and cod liver oils.
  • People who are using Pharmaceutical Anticoagulants, such as heparin, should not consume more than 400 IU per day of supplementary Vitamin E (as this combination can increase the risk of excessive bleeding).
  • It is recommended to avoid vitamin E supplementation 2 to 4 weeks prior to surgery. Afterwards it is an aid in the healing process.
  • Vitamin E is more effective taken with vitamin C and other anti-oxidants.

New York Times Vitamin E Report
The John Hopkins University data study appears flawed and questionable. This study picked out 19 international studies involving 135,967 people. Only one study dealt solely with Vitamin E. The actual dosage range was between 16.5 and 2000 IU's of vitamin E. These studies, some over 10 years ago and of varying quality, were then independently abstracted and received meta-analysis (a highly selective and complicated inquiry into the data) where many of the trials were small and performed on patients with chronic diseases. Results stated by the study were that vitamin E may increase all-cause mortality and should be avoided.

Yet, some of the same authors recently published a single study, which lasted five years, of 4740 adults aged 65 and older, which indicated that subjects who consumed between 500 and 1000 milligrams of vitamin C and between 400 and 1500 IU of vitamin E per day reduced the risk of Alzheimer's disease by 64 to 78 percent.

Reasons the John Hopkins Study is Flawed:

  • Meta analysis allows for statistical findings that may justify a predetermined outcome. Having read the published study there appears to be many areas of speculation and complex manipulations. Statistics are never the truth, only an approximation of the truth, and very vulnerable to manipulation. For example, one can assume that beds kill people, because so many people die in bed. Therefore beds could be associated with death, and could be considered unsafe.
  • With statistics you can easily extrapolate false conclusions. Often ill people do take higher amounts of vitamin E with the intent of improving their condition; whereas, healthy people often take less vitamin E. In a population of 136,000 examples, one could easily find that vitamin E is associated with early death because the population using it is more ill.
  • Another factor to consider is whether any of the population was on pharmaceutical drugs. We know vitamin E can increase certain pharmaceutical drug effects whereas other pharmaceutical drugs dramatically decrease the absorption of vitamin E causing a deficient state. Most likely many patients were using pharmaceutical drugs since the trials used were often done with patients that were chronically ill. Their doctors may have increased their vitamin E levels to prevent a vitamin E deficiency.

How to Evaluate Vitamin E
What kind of studies should we look at when evaluating vitamin E? Without doubt the most accurate are case studies, where one individual is monitored closely and results and details noted. Over time the accumulation of these case studies can determine an intelligent, fully disclosed and repeatable conclusion.

There are numerous medical doctors who fully endorse high potency vitamin E supplementation and have witnessed its benefits with their clients. Some of these doctors have conducted studies and have written books about vitamin E.

Vitamin E is one of the most well researched nutrients. Study after study supports the benefits of vitamin E and has yet to find a toxicity level for its ingestion.

That means vitamin E is very safe and does not cause early death.


The BEST of health to you!
Michael LeVesque, President

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products listed in this newsletter are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult with your physician before taking any of these products.