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J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2003 Mar;12(2):123-36.

Does vitamin E supplementation prevent cardiovascular events?

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  • 1Division of Preventive Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


In recent years, vitamin E has been investigated as a cardioprotective agent. Experimental studies have identified potential mechanisms by which vitamin E may inhibit the development of atherosclerosis, and observational studies of individuals without coronary disease suggest that vitamin E intake may prevent future cardiovascular events. Secondary prevention trials to date have demonstrated little benefit from vitamin E supplementation. It remains possible, however, that supplementation may be useful among certain high-risk groups, including those with nutritional deficiencies. Limited data from completed primary prevention trials also indicate minimal cardioprotection from vitamin E, but large-scale trials now in progress may yet show benefit. Results from ongoing trials will contribute powerfully to the totality of evidence on which to formulate both appropriate clinical recommendations for individual patients and a rational public health policy for the population as a whole. At this time, there is insufficient evidence for issuing a public health recommendation to use vitamin E supplements to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD). Rather, increased intake of fruits, vegetables, and other antioxidant-rich foods should be promoted as part of a healthy diet because they provide nutritional benefits beyond any potential antioxidant effect. Moreover, even if found to reduce CVD risk, vitamin supplement use should be considered an adjunct, not an alternative, to established cardioprotective measures, such as smoking abstention, avoidance of obesity, adequate physical activity, and control of high blood pressure and hyperlipidemia.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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