Alpha tocopherol and Heart Disease

old message Alpha tocopherol and Heart Disease Darrell Miller 10/13/05

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Date: October 13, 2005 10:54 AM
Subject: Alpha tocopherol and Heart Disease

Alpha tocopherol and Heart Disease

Numerous studies in both men and women support an association between alpha-tocopherol intake and a decrease in atherosclerosis risk factors. Studies show that alpha-tocopherol decreases oxidation of low-density lipoprotein, inhibits platelet aggregation, increases vasodilation and decrease inflammation. Other studies have demonstrated a relationship between endothelial cell function and plasma levels of alpha-tocopherol. However, not all randomized controlled trials or epidemiological studies have shown an association between alpha-tocopherol intake and the prevention of atherosclerosis or cardiac events.

In a double-blind, randomized clinical trial examining the effect of supplementation with all rac-alpha-tocopherol (synthetic vitamin E) on LDL oxidation, 318 healthy men and women (mean age 56.2 years) were given 267 mg vitamin E or placebo daily and assessed every three months throughout the study. All rac-alpha-tocopherol reduced circulating LDL and decreased the susceptibility of LDL to oxidation compared with placebo. However, vitamin E supplementation was no more effective than placebo in reducing the progression of carotid intima-media thickening (a measurement of the development of atherosclerosis).

Results of Women’s Health Study, reported in July 2005 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, suggested that vitamin E decreased some, but not all, cardiovascular risks. For this randomized, controlled trial, 39,876 healthy woman (mean age 54.6 years) were placed in one of four groups and given 400 mg all rac-alpha-tocopherol (Synthetic vitamin E) or placebo on alternating days 400 mg all rac-alpha-tocopherol or 100mg aspirin on alternating days, of placebo only, and studied for an average of 10.1 years. Results showed a non-significant 7 percent reduction in risk of major cardiovascular event in the vitamin E-supplemented groups and a significant (24 percent) decrease in cardiovascular death in the vitamin E-supplemented groups. However, no differences were noted between groups in risks for heart attack, ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke or cancer.

One small study compared the effects of natural and synthetic alpha-tocopherol in a variety of doses in preventing LDL oxidation. In this randomized, placebo-controlled study of 79 healthy men and women, subjects were assigned to take placebo or either all rac-alpha-tocopherol or RRR alpha-tocopherol over the course of eight weeks, in doses of 67, 133, 267 or 533 mg daily. There was no significant differences in time to LDL oxidation among the different dosage regimens, indicating that neither form of vitamin E was superior in preventing LDL oxidation. However, doses above 267 mg/day of either all rac-alpha-tocopherol and RRR alpha-tocopherol did significantly delay time to LDL oxidation.

So conclusion, doses of 300 mg/day will reduce will delay LDL Oxidation and might help prevent cholesterol problems down the road.

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