Can vitamin E help reduce my risk of heart disease or stroke?

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Dariush Mozaffarian, MD
Internal Medicine
As is the case with many vitamins, observational studies suggested that people with higher vitamin E intakes were less likely to develop heart disease. Results from the Women's Health Study, an observational study that followed about 36,000 women for more than 10 years, showed that a daily supplement of 600 IU of vitamin E did not reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. However, it did decrease the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by about 25%.

Expectations for vitamin E faded further as the results from randomized trials trickled in. The Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation-The Ongoing Outcomes (HOPE-TOO) study included almost 4,000 volunteers, ages 55 and over, with vascular disease or diabetes. Half took 400 IU of vitamin E daily, and the others took a placebo. After seven years, the vitamin E hadn't provided any more protection against heart disease or cancer than the placebo. In addition, the vitamin E takers were more likely to suffer heart failure and to be hospitalized for the condition.

The Physicians' Health Study also found no benefit from 400 IU of vitamin E taken every other day for preventing heart disease, stroke, or death from heart disease. In fact, vitamin E increased the risk of bleeding (hemorrhagic) stroke.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.