Unfortunately, the lay press still references the extremely flawed Vitamin E meta-analysis which, for who knows what reason, did not include a number of fairly large positive outcome Vitamin E studies in their analysis.
We receive weekly phone calls from patients who tell us their uninformed doctors continue to suggest they stop taking supplements that include vitamin E, even though The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine, The National Eye Institute, The Academy of Science, The New York Academy of Science, and the Council for Responsible Nutrition all published pieces that refuted the conclusions of the extremely controversial Vitamin E meta-analysis.
Here are some studies they obviously left out of the meta-analysis:
Vitamin E Improves Immune Function
A study on healthy people 65 years of age or older and published in JAMA, found vitamin E supplementation to improve some measures of immune function. Researchers at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging indicated that the best responses were observed in people given 200 IUs of vitamin E per day.
Vitamin E Improves Brain Function.
A randomized, double-masked, multicenter two year study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that those patients taking 2000 IUs per day of vitamin E increased the level of brain catecholamines, which protect against oxidative damage and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Vitamin E Protects Heart Health
In the Nurses’ Health Study, involving more than 87,000 women, Dr. Meir Stampfer and colleagues at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health reported a 41 percent reduction in risk of heart disease among nurses who had taken vitamin E for more than two years. This study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The researchers noted that a beneficial effect of vitamin E on heart disease "is plausible because of the substantial evidence indicating the importance of oxidation of LDL in atherosclerosis." The average vitamin E intake in the lowest-risk group was 200 IU.
Vitamin E Protects Eyes and Lungs
The National Eye Institute supported a Longitudinal Study of Cataract involving 764 participants whose eyes were examined yearly over a period of about five years. The average age of the subjects was 65. Participants who were regular users of multivitamin supplements or vitamin E supplements were less likely to have an increase in lens opacity during the study period.
In a British study of lung function in 178 men and women 70 to 96 years of age who had respiratory symptoms, researchers found that for every extra milligram of vitamin E in the diet, there was an improvement in performance on two tests of lung function. In another study of more than 2600 people in the area of Nottingham, England, higher dietary intakes of vitamin C and vitamin E were associated with improved lung function.
Vitamin E Protects Against Some Cancers
The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study that found The Health Professionals Follow-up Study suggested that men who had higher dietary vitamin E intake, or who used vitamin E supplements had a lower risk of bladder cancer over a 12-year period, and "taking vitamin E supplements for 10 or more years decreased risk by more than 30 percent."
Vitamin E Beneficial for Serious Athletes, and All the Rest of Us Too
Researchers at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University recently published study results in Free Radical Biology & Medicine indicating that vitamin C and E supplementation for six weeks prior to racing completely prevented the increase in lipid oxidation typical in ultra marathon runners. The researchers noted that the same type of metabolic damage is found often in patients who have experienced traumas such as heart attack, stroke and some surgeries, pointing to the possibility of these nutrients, particularly vitamin E, benefiting even broader groups than elite athletes.