'People still take dangerous vitamin E', said a headline in a recent medical journal. Dangerous? Of course, they're referring to the recent major studies that concluded that beta-carotene and vitamin E supplements increased your risk of dying. In other words, they're killers.
This is strong stuff, and it was something that the world's press devoured. But, as we've pointed out in previous E-news alerts, it wasn't the whole story. The increase in cancer from beta-carotene is restricted to people who smoke or are heavy drinkers. For the rest, beta-carotene reduces the risk of colon cancer.
As to the vitamin E, it's important to understand the form in which it was tested. The trials that produced negative outcomes used synthetic D,L-alpha-tocopherol, and different outcomes would have been reached had the researchers tested it in its natural form.
But cardiologists had already damned vitamin E when they discovered that it interfered with Zocor (simvastin), given to patients with coronary artery disease. But, again, it was only part of the story. These adverse effects occurred only in those patients with low HDL cholesterol, and normal LDL-cholesterol, levels. For every other patient, there's plenty of evidence that suggests that the supplement, at 800 IU a day, prevents the increase in large particle HDL. The press also ignored the other observations made by researchers that selenium supplements helps the statins work more effectively, and that a regime of 4000 mg of fish oil a day raises levels of 'good' cholesterol without any drug therapy.
* Just how dangerous is vitamin E, and all the other nutritional supplements come to that? And what are the benefits they offer? All the answers can be found in the WDDTY Good Supplements Guide, and a copy can be winging its way to you if you click here: http://www.wddty.com/shop/e-books/supplements-under-the-microscope.html