Is Too Much Vitamin E Bad For Your Heart? And Your Longevity?

Topics: Wellness and Health

Probably, if it’s a specific type, according to a just-published study of studies pooling 135,967 participants in 19 clinical trials. A powerful antioxidant, Vitamin E occurs in nature with other antioxidants–Vitamin C, for example.

Vitamin E occurs in 8 different molecules, and they are different. Most Vitamin E is synthetic (dl-alpha tocopherol), derived from petroleum. Most supplement research, however, has been done with d-alpha-tocopherol. Mixed tocopherols, all 8 molecules, are in food. Gamma tocopherol is the form found in food more than the others.

Too much of any one supplement can be toxic. But Vitamin E toxicity is hard to get by eating almonds and hazelnuts…the best sources for Vitamin E on the planet. You need the right, smaller, natural doses of vitamin E.

* The authors reviewed articles from MEDLINE and The Cochrane Library if they met the following criteria:
1. The study was a randomized, controlled trial.
2. Vitamin E was used in one of the treatment groups, either alone or in combination with other supplements.
3. The duration of vitamin E supplementation was at least one year.
4. The trial included at least 10 deaths.
* 36 studies were initially identified, of which 19 qualified for review. The total number of participants in these trials was 135,967, and the number of cumulative deaths was 12,504. The mean age ranged between 47 to 84 years old. 17 trials included men and women, while 2 trials were conducted that isolated men and women separately for analysis. Most trials involved patients at high risk of chronic disease, such as coronary heart disease.
* Average follow-up time for the studies examined was from 1.4 to 8.2 years. The median dose of vitamin E was 400 IU/day but ranged between 16.5 to 2,000 IU/day.
* The overall mortality rate was 1,022 per 10,000 subjects. The pooled risk ratio for all-cause mortality associated with vitamin E supplementation was 1.01, a nonsignificant difference.
* Eight trials examined vitamin E supplementation at doses less than 400 IU/day. The risk ratio of mortality associated with vitamin E supplementation for these trials was 0.98.
* Eleven trials examined vitamin E supplementation at doses of 400 IU/day or more. The risk ratio of mortality associated with vitamin E supplementation for these trials was 1.04, a significant increase in the risk of death compared with no supplementation.
* In a dose-response analysis, mortality increased fairly steadily as the dose of vitamin E supplementation rose to more than 150 IU/day. A nonsignificant decrease in mortality was associated with doses of less than 150 IU/day.
* The effects of vitamin E on mortality did not change following adjustment for sex distribution, mean age, or average follow-up across trials. However, in controlling for the concomitant use of other supplements in addition to vitamin E, the risk of mortality associated with vitamin E increased slightly.
* Data were reanalyzed after removing results from each of the 19 individual trials, and no one study dominated the findings.

Pearls for Practice

* Vitamin E supplementation, especially at high doses, may be associated with multiple deleterious effects, including prooxidant effects, anticoagulant effects, and withdrawal.
* Vitamin E at doses of 400 IU/day or more may increase all-cause mortality.