Vitamin E may protect kidney dialysis patients

Patients with kidney failure or undergoing long-term dialysis commonly have elevated levels of free radicals. These free radicals may contribute to an increased risk of heart disease, a leading cause of death among dialysis patients.

Researchers asked 14 male and female patients on dialysis to take 400 IU of vitamin E for six weeks. Blood chemistry tests were done before supplementation, at six weeks, and at 12 weeks. At the beginning of the study, patients had elevated blood levels of malondialdehyde, a marker of oxidized (free radical-damaged) fats.

After six weeks of supplementation with vitamin E, blood levels of malondialdehyde declined significantly, indicating an improvement in antioxidant defenses. This improvement continued during follow-up blood testing six weeks after vitamin E supplementation ended.

This study adds to a growing body of research indicating that supplementation with vitamin E may be beneficial to kidney dialysis patients. One recent clinical trial of kidney dialysis patients found that supplementation of 800 IU of natural-source vitamin E for approximately 17 months led to a 70% reduction in fatal and nonfatal heart attacks.

International Journal of Artificial Organs, 2002;25:373-378