Cut Heart Disease Risk: Vitamin E reduces cardiovascular deaths by 24%

The results of a new study involving nearly 40,000 healthy women — the longest and largest trial ever conducted on vitamin E — found that vitamin E significantly reduced the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, which is the number one killer of women in the US.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), also confirmed that vitamin E is safe, reporting that taking 600 IU of vitamin E supplements every other day did not increase total mortality in healthy women. In reaching the conclusion, the Women’s Health Study (WHS) contradicts a recent meta-analysis that reviewed studies of people already ill with cancer, heart disease or other serious medical conditions.

“The benefits shown in this study are very encouraging and should come as welcome news to everyone,” said Andrew Shao, PhD, of the CRN. “The data clearly show that vitamin E can help healthy women, especially older women. They can continue to take vitamin E with confidence and expect to derive substantial benefit.”

The study found a 24% reduction in cardiovascular deaths among the nearly 20,000 women who took vitamin E supplements over a 10-year period, compared with the nearly 20,000 other study participants who were given placebo. For women 65 and over, the study reported that taking vitamin E supplements had an even greater positive effect. Among that population, there was a 49% reduction in cardiovascular death and a 34% reduction in heart attack.

“Most Americans don’t get enough vitamin E from diet alone,” Dr. Shao said. “Supplements fill that gap and provide higher levels of vitamin E that have been shown to be beneficial in promoting health and protecting against some diseases.”

Council for Responsible Nutrition , July 5, 2005