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I Heard That Vitamin E Is Harmful: Is This True?

Armen Hareyan's picture

(NC) - Recently there has been some confusion about the role of vitamin E in our body. A study published in an online issue of Annals of Internal Medicine in November, suggested that high doses of vitamin E lead to a higher death rate. This study has many flaws and does not prove that vitamin E is dangerous and without health benefits.

In this compilation of studies, the subjects suffered from chronic disease, were at high risk or were malnourished. Given that these people were already at risk of chronic diseases, the authors concede that the findings cannot be generalized to a healthy adult population.

Furthermore, the study used high doses of vitamin E - 400 International Units (IU). Typically, a basic multivitamin contains 35 to 60 IUs of vitamin E and is considered to be a safe and healthy amount.

Generally, I would discourage taking single supplements, as they often contain high doses that can easily put one over the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) - the maximum amount of a nutrient that can be consumed without adverse effects. A multivitamin is the safest choice and it will not put one near the UL for any of the vitamins and minerals.

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Vitamin E is an antioxidant that is important in overall health. Many studies have shown that vitamin E may help prevent prostate cancer, help reduce heart disease, boost the immune system and help improve cognitive function (memory). Good sources of vitamin E include vegetable oils, such as soybean and sesame seed oil, nuts and green, leafy vegetables.

Because it can be challenging to meet vitamin E requirements for optimal health through diet alone, you may want to consider taking a trusted daily multivitamin like Centrum.

Robin Anderson is a registered dietitian working in private practice in Edmonton AB. Her company, Steps to Wellness provides nutrition education to corporate and individual clients.

- News Canada