A new study published recently adds to the growing body of evidence in understanding the role of vitamin E in health.
Funded by the US National Institutes of Health the study was conducted in patients with coronary heart disease and looked at the effects of cholesterol-lowering drugs and high dose antioxidant supplements on disease progression.
The study showed that dietary supplements probably do not have additional benefits beyond the benefits seen from cholesterol-lowering medication. Antioxidants given to this population may not be the best approach to determining the benefits of vitamin E among healthy adults. However, these results do not negate the benefits offered by vitamin E altogether.
"The widest body of evidence shows vitamin E is beneficial,'' said Dr. Eric Rimm of the Harvard School of Public Health and lead investigator of past vitamin E studies. "As we continue to evaluate the effects of high dosages of vitamin E supplements, we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that our bodies need an adequate amount of vitamin E every day, which can be achieved from a balanced diet.''
After an exhaustive review of the science behind vitamin E, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) set the RDA at 15 mg of vitamin E, specifically the alpha-tocopherol form of the vitamin, with an emphasis on natural sources. National consumption data show that Americans are getting about 50 per cent of the RDA.
According to Oregon State University's Dr. Maret Traber, who was a member of the NAS panel that set the vitamin E recommendations, "The concern is that average consumers are not meeting the RDA for vitamin E in their diets.'' Traber added, "Nuts, particularly almonds, are an excellent source of vitamin E."
"Just one ounce (about a handful) of almonds provides 50 percent of the RDA for the alpha-tocopherol form of vitamin E, the form recommended for best absorption and utilization,'' stressed Dr. Karen Lapsley, director of scientific affairs at the Almond Board of California.
Full findings are published in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM)