Harvard Researchers Recommend Vitamin E Supplements

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Harvard Researchers Recommend Vitamin E Supplements

BACKGROUND: Despite a large body of research supporting their use, many physicians still view the use of vitamin supplements in disease prevention as controversial.

RESEARCH: In the New England Journal of Medicine, two leading vitamin researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health reviewed the evidence linking low levels of specific vitamins to an increased risk of diseases. In general, they recommended that a daily multivitamin supplement would be worthwhile for most adults.

RESULTS: In addition to a multivitamin, the researchers strongly recommended vitamin E supplements. They wrote, "We also believe that vitamin E supplements are reasonable for most middle-aged and older Americans who are at increased risk for coronary disease. Evidence is still accruing, but even assuming a low probability that vitamin E will eventually be proved efficacious (and we view the probability as fairly high), the likelihood of a benefit would still outweigh the very low probability of harm."

IMPLICATIONS: Considerable evidence supports the use of vitamin E in preventing coronary heart disease. In this article, using a fictional case of a middle-aged woman, the Harvard researchers recommended a daily supplement containing 400 IU of vitamin E.

Willett WC, Stampfer MJ. "What vitamins should I be taking, doctor?" New England Journal of Medicine, 2001;

This article is not available on Medline.

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