Military Program Proposes Saving Money
Through Vitamin E Supplementation

This section is compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
Send all comments or additions to:

WASHINGTON, May 22, 1997 ––   A new report by the National Defense Council Foundation finds that the federal government could save up to $6.3 billion annually by increasing the health of active and retired military personnel through a anti–aging program that includes the use of vitamin supplementation.

The report, "The Aging Crisis: Does the Graying of America Threaten National Security?" cites recent studies on the health benefits of vitamins, in particular Vitamin E.    The report said that Vitamin E:

  • Improves immune system function:   "Vitamin E has been demonstrated to bring about significant improvements in the immune system of patients over the age of 60.

    In one study, the number of white blood cells increased by 10 percent to 50 percent in patients who received between 400 IU (International Units) and 800 IU of Vitamin E supplements daily," the report said.

  • Reduces heart disease for women:   "In one study of 87,000 women, it was determined that those taking Vitamin E regularly for two years had a 41 percent reduction in the risk of heart disease."

  • Reduces cancer and heart disease for men::   "Another study of 40,000 men determined that those taking Vitamin E for two years had a 37 percent reduced heart disease risk. Low levels of Vitamin E have also been associated with several forms of cancer in studies both in the U.S. and abroad."

The president of the National Defense Council Foundation, Milton Copulos, author of the report, said:

“Of critical importance, though, are the indications that supplements with antioxidants may be a way to significantly reduce the risk of both cancer and heart disease.   Especially encouraging is the evidence that benefits will accrue at whatever point the supplementation is initiated.”

Antioxidants are compounds that protect the body from the formation of oxygen free–radicals    –– unstable oxygen molecules that can line the interior of blood vessels, thus restricting blood flow.    The formation of free radicals can lead to an array of diseases.

The report, presented at a Congressional seminar in Washington, D.C., recommended supplementation of the normal diet with a daily dosage of Vitamin E.

“The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for Vitamin E is currently 8 IUs to 10 IUs for adults.   Many clinicians, however, believe that the optimal dosage is on the order of 400 IUs per day.   Since it would be necessary to consume two quarts of corn oil or 22 cups of peanuts per day to achieve this level, the only practical way to do so is through a supplement," the report said.

The report also recommended offering vitamin supplements to patients free of charge.

“Given the inexpensive nature of vitamin supplements, it would likely be cost-effective to make them available to patients without charge," it said.

The savings would come from the health benefits of the overall anti–aging program, which includes improved nutrition, exercise, tobacco and alcohol education, hormone replacement and monitoring for specific health risks.

“Clearly, the implementation of a program encompassing both prevention and intervention would yield enormous savings in near and long-term health care costs for the (Department of Defense) Armed Forces (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA)," the report said.

The National Defense Council Foundation is a 20,000–member non–profit research, education, and humanitarian aid organization.

My letters to the Author & his responses

From: Frank M. Painter, D.C.
To: Milton Copulos
Subject: Re: NDCF article "The Greying of America"
Date: Tuesday, September 22, 1998 1:15 PM

Mr. Copulos,

I do nutritional consulting in my chiropractic practice. Chiropractors generally have a wellness/holistic approach to healthcare.

You are to be highly praised for your paper. When various communities continue to claim that supplements are not necessary, the far–sighted like yourself read the literature and support the benefit that quality, blinded, and randomized trials have demonstrated. I have personally experienced significant health changes with minimal additions to the diet, as have many of my patients.

The paper you wrote (which I don't have a copy of) quoted a trial:   "In one study of 87,000 women, it was determined that those taking Vitamin E regularly for two years had a 41 percent reduction in the risk of heart disease."   Could you advise me the name and authors of that study? I hate to be a pest, but I'm just so darned good at it.

It is my hope that this publication(s) will become available on-line in the near future. I would love to add the link to my Nutrition section ( ), because this is such a powerful study. Is there any liklihood that it will be released on-line?

Thank you for your speedy response!   Thanks again.   Your in health,

Frank M. Painter, D.C.

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From:       Milton Copulos
Subject:    NDCF article "The Greying of America"
Date:       Tuesday, September 22, 1998 8:15 AM

Dr. Painter

Regarding your inquiry concerning "The Greying of America",   I am sorry to note that at this point it does not exist online.    This document is one in a series that NDCF has produced concerning strategies to improve military medicine. These reports cover a vareity of topics ranging from preventative health care measures, such as the use of nutritional supplements and vitamins to provide optimum troop health, to new technologies for extracorporeal life support to be used for far forward casualty sustainment.

In addition to the document to which you referred, you might also be interested in the NDCF publication "Ensuring Troop Nutrition: The Problem of Marginal Vitamin Deficiency". This report, as well as the others is available in hard copy from the Foundation.

I should also note that since authoring these articles, I have changed status, and am now a professional staff member of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee. Part of my area of responsibility does include issues related to the Food and Drug Administration, so I have not totally abandoned health care as an interest.

If you have any questions, I can be reached at (202) 226–2299, extension 32217.

Milt Copulos

From:       Milton Copulos
Subject:    Harvard Heart Study
Date:       Tuesday, September 22, 1998 4:13 PM

Dear Dr. Painter:

In reference to your query concerning the study I referred to, it is the Harvard Heart Study which is comprised of approximately 87,000 nurses who have been followed for more than 20 years now. There is also a companion study of physicians, which, I believe includes roughly 39,000 individuals if memory serves. These two studies have been widely quoted   –– I know that the New England Journal of Medicine is one place they are described.

There are, of course, many other well designed, scinetifically valid studies that have been done on other nutritional substances, for example folic acid. One specific nutrient that I am particularly excited about is coenzyeme Q 10, which has had over 2,000 studies performed in Japan, ranging from relatively small outcome studies through large–scale randomized, double–blind clinical trials. Unfortunately, many of the reports on these studies are unavailable in the United States, or only exist in Japanese.

You might also want to look at the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine's website at They usuallly post recent articles and studies. Of course, there is always medline, although getting full documents rather than abstracts can get expensive.

As I noted earlier, it is unlikely that any of the NDCF military medicine project reports is going to be on line soon. They simply don't have the funding to undertake the project at this time. Hard copies are available for purchase through the foundation, however.

If I can be of any further assistance, you have my number and e– mail.

Milt Copulos

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