Vitamin E can help prevent heart attacks

Dietary supplements often come under attack, with reports that say they are of little or no benefit, some even suggesting that certain products may be dangerous. While some of these reports may have elements of truth, they often do not tell a complete story.

For example, vitamin E often comes under attack for being useless or dangerous. Yet, several years ago, an important study led by Andrew Levy, at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and the Clalit Health Services in Israel, reported that 400 International Units of vitamin E, taken daily, can prevent more than 50 percent of heart attacks, especially in people with a certain genetic traits.

His findings were published in Science Daily, and involved 1434 subjects who were followed over an 18 month period.

That study demonstrated that those who carry the Hp 2-2 gene, some of whom were diabetic, had the most benefit from taking supplemental vitamin E, showing a significant reduction in mortality from heart attacks and stroke. The Hp 2-2 gene effects blood hemoglobin, making blood vessels more susceptible to inflammation.

No side effects from taking 400 IU of vitamin E were noted in that study, yet it was published at a time when vitamin E was under attack and many physicians had stopped recommending it because other contemporary publications had shown little benefit.

In the case of supplements, it is always best to keep an open mind. They are certainly not a panacea, but neither are they the devilish products that some would have you believe.