Advice to Patients:
Don't Throw Away Vitamin E

This section is compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
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A new national poll demonstrates that 18 percent of Americans are less likely to take vitamin E based on the news suggesting high doses "may increase risk of dying" among older, high-risk patients. Many experts are concerned that a meta-analysis, released last month, may lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease as consumers become less likely to take the beneficial supplement - vitamin E.

"Vitamin E is such an important antioxidant," said Barbara Levine, PhD, director of the Nutrition Information Center and associate professor of nutrition in medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University. "If consumers base their lifestyles on this inconclusive meta-analysis, we could see an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancers and age-related macular degeneration in an otherwise healthy population."

"This study, released at the American Heart Association annual meeting, produced and created an avalanche of misinformation that puts millions of Americans at a health risk," said Elliott Balbert, president of the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance. "Numerous scientific studies have shown that Americans, especially seniors, should take vitamin E supplements to combat cardiovascular disease."

Commissioned by the Dietary Supplement Information Bureau (DSIB), the survey measured the attitudes (post meta-analysis) of 1,051 American adults via telephone from November 19 through November 22, 2004.

Other poll findings include that nearly 20 percent recalled the negative study on vitamin E, and one in ten (10 percent) say they are less likely to take a dietary supplement as a result of recent news coverage.

However, the poll showed that the American people overwhelmingly believe in the benefits of vitamins and vitamin E:

  • Ninety percent of Americans surveyed agree that a well-balanced daily intake of vitamins from both food and dietary supplements is an important part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.

  • Furthermore, 79 percent believe it is important to get the recommended daily allowance of vitamin E from food and dietary supplement sources.

"Do not throw away your vitamin E," said C. Wayne Callaway, MD, Internal Medicine, Endocrinology, Metabolism and Clinical Nutrition. "One study does not outweigh the many studies that document the benefits of vitamin E in people who need it and the lack of harm in people who do not."

In response to the meta-analysis, the DSIB launched a new Web site - - to help consumers obtain accurate information on vitamin E. Visitors will find referenced materials to help them understand the analysis generating news headlines and facts on why vitamin E is safe and beneficial.

Source: Dietary Supplement Information Bureau

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