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Too Much Vitamin E?

vitamin-eMany of you may have heard of a recent study suggesting that Vitamin E supplementation may be harmful for your health. Miller’s-et-al article, “High-Dosage Vitamin E Supplementation May Increase All-Cause Mortality” reported that supplemental intake of Vitamin E at doses greater than 150 IU/day progressively increase your mortality. After a segment was aired on the Today Show, many of my clients started asking me questions. I decided to investigate this study and here is what I found:

  1. In all the studies that Dr Miller referenced, Vitamin E, in the form of Alpha-Tocopherol, was used, which is a poor absorbable form. Most of us are unaware that natural Vitamin E is a family of four Tocopherols, which occur in various ratios in different foods. Humans are not able to synthesize their own Vitamin E. Tocopherols are the only living things capable of making Vitamin E, which are found in plants and seeds. Gamma-Tocopherol is the most prevalent form of Vitamin E in the American diet. Most Vitamin E supplements are sold in the form of Alpha-Tocopherol because they are cheaper. However, Gamma-Tocopherols are best absorbed. The Gamma form of Vitamin E is the one that has been shown to protect against heart disease and cancer.
  2. Dr Miller’s study did not specify if the Vitamin E is natural or synthetic. Natural Vitamin E is the favorable choice because it’s absorption is much better. Many studies using synthetic Vitamin E have produced disappointing results.
  3. The study failed to disclose some pertinent information about the participants, including their level of health or sickness and drug use (prescription, over the counter). These factors can surely play a role in a person’s mortality.
  4. Vitamin E toxicity is very rare. The National Academy of Sciences has established the daily tolerable upper intake level for adults to be 1,000 mg, which is equivalent to 1,500 IU of natural Vitamin E.

Overall, I believe that the results of this study are inaccurate. Vitamin E supplementation is helpful in protecting against heart disease and cancer, when using the right form. Therefore, I recommend to my clients that they find a Vitamin E formula which is natural and one that contains Mixed Tocopherols, with a higher percentage of Gamma-Tocopherol.

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