Does Vitamin E Really Help With Heart Health and Other Uses?
Does Vitamin E Work for Heart Health?
People have claimed that vitamin E may be helpful for the following heart uses:
- Slowing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
- Preventing heart attacks
- Treating chest pain (angina)
- Treating congestive heart failure (CHF)
- Treating high blood pressure (hypertension).
Early studies suggested that people with higher intakes of vitamin E may have a lower risk for heart problems, but later studies failed to confirm that vitamin E supplementation lowers the risks of such heart problems. Some sources claim that different forms of vitamin E may be better for heart health than others, but there is little scientific evidence to support such claims. At this time, neither the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) nor the American Heart Association (AHA) supports the use of vitamin E for heart health.
Does Vitamin E Work for Cancer Prevention?
Some studies suggest that vitamin E (200 IU per day) may help prevent bladder cancer. Studies do not seem to suggest that vitamin E helps prevent head and neck cancer, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, or lung cancer. There is not enough evidence to evaluate the effectiveness of vitamin E for preventing other types of cancer.
It is believed that the anti-cancer effects of vitamin E are probably related to its antioxidant activity. There is some concern that high doses of vitamin E (more than 400 IU per day) may interfere with the antioxidant balance in the body, perhaps having a pro-oxidant effect. This may account for some of the contradictory evidence about vitamin E and cancer.
Does Vitamin E Work for Alzheimer's Disease?
There is some evidence that high-dose vitamin E may help slow cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer's disease, especially those with moderately severe Alzheimer's disease. However, high-dose vitamin E supplementation does not seem to help prevent Alzheimer's disease. More research is necessary in this area.