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Healthy Vitamins

Vitamin E and Heart or Cardiovascular Disease

Many studies have shown that increased vitamin E consumption is related to a decreased risk of heart attack or death from heart disease.  Several studies have found that plasma and red blood cell levels of alpha-tocopherol are inversely related with the presence or severity of carotid arthererosclerosis (this is when you have blockages in your carotid artery leading to your brain, which can cause a stroke).  This is significant because it means that the more vitamin E you have in your blood, the lower the risk of carotid artheriosclerosis, and hence subsequent risk for heart disease and heart attacks.  It is interesting, though, that studies giving supplemental E to patients who already had heart disease did not show any preventative effect for either heart attacks or death.  Perhaps this is because of using synthetic vitamin E.

Vitamin E and Diabetes

Since vitamin E functions as an antioxidant and quenches free radicals, and diabetics appear to have increased oxidative stress as well as increased risk of heart disease, E seems to be promising for diabetics.  However, there have been mixed studies on the usefulness of E in these cases – one study showed a reduction in the oxidative stress marker, and another, using just 100 IUs of synthetic alpha-tocopherol showed improved blood glucose levels.  Another study using 900 to 1,600 IUs, also of synthetic alpha tocopherol daily, showed no or minimal improvement in the blood glucose levels.  This could very well be that the high levels of one synthetic E component, without it's necessary co-factors, canceled out any benefits of adding that alpha tocopherol to the diet of the diabetics.

Vitamin E and Dementia

Dementia means impaired cognitive or brain function, and seems to be striking more and more older folks these days (and some of us younger folks!)  Studies have shown that vitamin E supplementation seems to significantly slow down the progression of Alzheimer's dementia.  Those who did not have dementia and took E supplements also showed better cognitive function.  However, more studies need to be done regarding natural sources of E and dementia and Alzheimer's.

Deficiency & Food Sources of E
Vitamin E Supplements

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