October 31, 2008

Optimal Dose of Vitamin E Helps Heart

Vitamin E has been found to decrease cardiovascular risk, but high doses of vitamin E also result in an increase in nose bleeds, U.S. researchers said.

Maret Traber of Oregon State University said that vitamin E has been heralded for its ability to reduce the risk of blood clots, heart attack and sudden death, however, vitamin E promotes bleeding by interfering with vitamin K, which is essential in blood clotting.

Traber reviewed vitamin E studies and said one of the most compelling studies of the benefits of vitamin E is the Women's Health Study, in which 40,000 healthy women, 45 and older, took 600 international units vitamin E supplements, or a placebo, every other day for 10 years.

Women taking the supplements had 24 percent fewer deaths from heart disease, but women age 65 and older had a 26 percent reduction in cardiovascular events and a 49 percent reduction in cardiovascular deaths.

"That's a significant benefit," Traber said in a statement. "In some people high doses of vitamin E increase the tendency to bleed. Women enrolled in the study had an increase in nose bleeds."

To lessen the bleeding risk, the U.S.-based Food and Nutrition Board in 2000 set the upper tolerable limit for daily vitamin E intake at 1,500 international units.

The study is published in the November issue of Nutrition Reviews.