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Vitamin E: New Studies Show No Disease Prevention Benefit, Possible Risks

Armen Hareyan's picture

Vitamin E Benefits

More is not necessarily better when it comes to vitamin E, according to the March issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource.

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Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects body tissue from damage caused by unstable substances called free radicals. Free radicals can harm cells, tissues and organs, and they are believed to be one cause of the degenerative processes seen in aging.

For years this popular antioxidant was thought to offer protection against heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's disease and cataracts. But in more recent clinical trials, the strongest form of scientific proof, researchers were unable to show that vitamin E offers a clear benefit in terms of disease prevention. A recent analysis of 19 clinical trials suggests that too much of the vitamin - 400 international units (IU) or more - may actually increase health risks.

But all the answers aren't in yet. Several studies are in progress to see if low levels of vitamin E may offer some protection against illness. In the meantime, it's best to get most of your vitamin E from dietary sources. Options include almonds, sunflower seeds, safflower and corn oil, hazelnuts, tomato sauce, peanuts, mangos, kidney beans, spinach, kiwi and broccoli. If you decide to take a supplement, don't take more than 400 IU daily unless directed by your doctor.