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J Am Coll Nutr. 2003 Aug;22(4):258-68.

Vitamin E and its role in the prevention of atherosclerosis and carcinogenesis: a review.

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The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland.


Epidemiological and experimental studies suggest that antioxidants like vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) may play an important role in prevention of chronic disease. Several observational surveys have linked populations with a large intake of vitamin E with reduced incidence of heart disease. These observations have been strengthened by the demonstration of strong antioxidant activity by vitamin E in cellular, molecular and animal experiments. These results have highlighted a potential role for vitamin E supplementation in the prevention of chronic disease in humans. Interestingly however, large-scale clinical trials of vitamin E and other antioxidants in preventing specific disease processes (e.g., coronary artery disease) have generated conflicting and mixed outcomes. In this review, the role of vitamin E in the prevention of atherosclerosis and carcinogenesis has been carefully examined with particular emphasis on salient human studies (clinical trials) and their limitations. In addition, pertinent biochemical, physiological and metabolic features of vitamin E have also been incorporated. A list of common natural food sources of vitamin E has been provided. Important in vitro and animal studies related to the antiatherosclerotic and anticarcinogenic actions of vitamin E have been discussed in detail. Finally, the direction of future investigations in primary and secondary prevention of chronic diseases by vitamin E supplementation has been outlined.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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