Today, being “heart-smart” is as important as it was almost one hundred years ago. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), cardiovascular diseases have been the number one national killer for every year since 1900, except for 1918. On a positive note, the results of numerous studies investigating the benefits of vitamin E and heart health, lead the AHA to cite vitamin E as one of the “top ten heart and stroke research advances for 1996.” A medical study by a team at the Clinical School at the University of Cambridge and Papworth Hospital in England confirmed that vitamin E dramatically reduced the risk of heart attacks by a massive 75%.
The Cambridge study examined two thousand patients with heart problems over 18 months. Along with their regular medication, half of the group was given vitamin E, while the other half was given a placebo tablet. At the end of the period, the number of heart attacks in the group treated with vitamin E was only one-fourth that in the placebo group.
More statistics on the “heart-smart” vitamin recently appeared in the August, 1998 edition of Reader’s Digest. One study of over 11,000 people age 65 and over conducted by the National Institute on Aging discovered that those who took vitamin E had 41% less risk of dying of heart disease than those who did not. The study also found that among those taking the supplement, there was a 27% lower risk of death from any cause they examined.
Reader’s Digest also points out that the benefits are not limited to preventing heart disease. Potentially, vitamin E can fight off cancer. In a national Cancer Institute supported study of more than 29,000 adults in China, one group received combinations of vitamin E, beta-carotene, and selenium. With these participants, “there was a significant decrease in cancer,” said Dr. Omer Kucuk, professor of medicine at the Karmanos Cancer Institute at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.
Besides cancer patients, women who wake in the middle of the night due to menopausal hot flashes may be impressed by vitamin E as a natural alternative to estrogen-replacement therapy. At the Mayo Clinic, Charles L. Loprinzi, M.D. asked 120 breast cancer survivors to take 800 IU daily for four weeks. The women showed a decrease in hot-flashes.
In addition, other benefits of the vitamin include the slowing of Alzheimer’s, an improved resistance to sunburn, and improved gum and tooth strength. Although further research needs to be done, there appears to be no related side effects. As a natural dietary supplement, vitamin E is a superstar.