Vitamin E may disappoint the healthy individual, a new study suggests. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania led by Dr. Emma A. Meagher assessed the effects of vitamin E supplements on the rate of oxidative damage in healthy adults. Oxidative damage is caused by the activity of "free radicals"- compounds released during normal cell processes. Experts have linked oxidative stress to a number of major illnesses, including cancer and heart disease. In the trial the researchers gave 30 healthy men and women aged 18 to 60 either an inactive placebo or vitamin E in dosages that ranged from 200 to 2,000 international units (IU) per day. Results showed that the level ofoxidative damage, measured via chemicals released in the urine, remained nearlyunchanged regardless of the varying doses of vitamin E taken. The scientists concluded that the real benefit of vitamin E supplementation in healty individuals is questionable. Full findings are published in the Journal of American Medical Association - JAMA. 2001;285:1178-1182.