About Us
Our Services
Patient Education
Contact Us
Heart disease treatment centre Mumbai
cardiologist center
cardiac services
cardiac treatment

Vitamin E supplements and cardiovascular disease:
Do they help?

Antioxidants are natural substances that exist as vitamins, minerals and other compounds in foods. Vitamin E is considered an antioxidant vitamin.

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants fight substances, called free radicals that are produced when your body uses oxygen, such as when breathing or when exposed to substances such as cigarette smoke. Antioxidants have been linked to disease prevention by helping to increase the function of the immune system and possibly decrease the risk of heart disease, infection, cancer and other diseases.

Because oxidation of low-density-lipoproteins (the “bad” cholesterol) is an important step in the process of atherosclerosis, it has led many investigators to ask what is the role of antioxidants and heart disease? Atherosclerosis is the build-up of fat and cholesterol deposits, called plaque, on the inside of the arteries that leads to narrowing or blocking of the arteries if left untreated.

What is the role of antioxidants and cardiovascular disease?
Studies have shown that eating a diet rich in antioxidant-containing foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, has been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular (heart and blood vessels) disease (Click here to learn more). Several studies have evaluated the role of antioxidant vitamins, especially Vitamin E, in reducing heart disease events and stroke in people who have a high risk for these conditions.

Previous studies have shown conflicting results due to the low doses of Vitamin E, few study participants, limited duration of treatment and the inability to distinguish if the beneficial results were due to the Vitamin E or other lifestyle factors.

HOPE Study
The Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation (HOPE) Study evaluated a large number of patients (2545 women and 6995 men), aged 55 years and older, who were at high risk for cardiovascular events. The study was conducted for 4 ½ years to determine the role of vitamin E in those at high risk for primary or secondary cardiovascular events.

Primary cardiovascular events included myocardial infarction (heart attack), stroke, and death due to cardiovascular causes. Secondary cardiovascular events included any event or hospitalization for unstable angina (chest pain), heart failure, revascularization (reestablishing blood supply), limb amputation, and complications of diabetes or cancer. Patients were divided into two groups: those that received 400 IU of vitamin E per day and those who did not receive vitamin E, but rather a placebo.

The HOPE study showed that vitamin E did not reduce the incidence of cardiovascular events in those at high risk for these conditions during a follow-up period of 4 to 6 years.
Future studies will evaluate the use of vitamin E for a longer period of time to determine if:

  • The prolonged use (longer than 4 to 6 years) of vitamin E supplements benefits those at high risk for primary or secondary cardiovascular events
  • Vitamin E supplements must be taken with other antioxidants to be beneficial
  • There are other health benefits to vitamin E (such as decreasing the risk of certain types of cancer or easing joint inflammation from arthritis)

Vitamin E - harmful effects?
Vitamin E can increase risk for bleeding. The minimum amount of vitamin E it takes to affect blood clotting is about 30 IU. That is far less than the 400 IU dose that most people actually take. Most healthy people are not likely to run into problems with this, but people who are already on a blood-thinner medication (such as Coumadin, aspirin, or other platelet-inhibitors) or those who are preparing for surgery, may have cause for concern.

Other studies have shown slightly less amount of cardioprotection for those who take vitamin E. Dr. Eric Topol, Department Chairman of Cardiovascular medicine states, “In fact, the Heart Protection Study (HPS) indicated a slight trend toward harm in those patients who took a combination of vitamin E, beta carotene, and vitamin C.”

What now?
"For now, there is no need to take vitamin E supplements to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease." Dr. Topol adds. “If we could find a vitamin that helps people we would surely recommend it. At this time, it is more important to decrease your risk factors using more proven methods.”
To reduce your risk factors for cardiovascular disease, it’s important to:

  • Quit smoking and using tobacco products
  • Have your doctor check your lipid profile
  • Get treatment, if necessary, to reach a lipid goal of LDL less than 100 and HDL greater than 45
  • Eat foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol and rich in fiber and nutrients (including antioxidants)
  • Exercise regularly
  • Control high blood pressure and diabetes
  • Achieve and maintain an appropriate weight
  • Ask your doctor to do a blood test to detect high levels of homocysteine and high-sensitivity c-reactive protein, substances that have both been linked to an increased risk of heart disease
  • Have regular check-ups with your doctor
  • Ask your doctor about taking aspirin (between 80 and 160 mg once a day)

cardiac center

Copyrights © Krishna Cardiac Care Centre. All Rights Reserved. Designed by Fastcursor