Therapeutic uses of vitamin E in prevention of atherosclerosis


Swain RA, Kaplan-Machlis B




Altern Med Rev


The purpose of this review is to present the evidence-based pharmacotherapeutic properties of vitamin E and provide clinical recommendations for use in the arena of atherosclerosis. Methods: A literature search was conducted from 1966 through March 1999. All usable papers were retrieved, with large, randomized, double-blinded, clinical trials and epidemiological trials receiving emphasis. Results: Vitamin E, a lipid soluble vitamin, is a potent antioxidant. Several epidemiological studies have demonstrated positive relationships between vitamin E intake and the prevention of atherosclerotic heart disease; however, only one, large randomized clinical trial (The CHAOS Trial) has been conducted using more than 400 IU per day of vitamin E. Positive outcomes included a 77-percent reduction in nonfatal myocardial infarction (MI), but no corresponding reduction in mortality. Several large clinical trials are ongoing, investigating vitamin E for the prevention of atherosclerosis. Much less work has been undertaken studying vitamin E for prevention of cerebro- and peripheral vascular disease, but there appears to be promise in these areas as well. Conclusions: On the basis of the literature search, the authors recommend 400 IU or more per day of vitamin E to patients at high risk or already diagnosed with coronary artery disease. Vitamin E supplementation may also be beneficial in the prevention of cerebro- and peripheral vascular diseases.