The common wisdom of if something appears too good to be true, it must be is usually sage advice, but not in the case of vitamin E. Recent scientific studies have shown that this wonder pill is a pillar of excellent health. It's downright astonishing how many benefits vitamin E has-from possibly preventing certain types of cancer, to protecting vision as we age-that taking this vitamin is a critical part of a daily regimen for anyone who cares about their health.
Here are some of the latest studies touting the benefits of vitamin E presented at the New York Academy of Science in 2005.
Vitamin E and Cancer
Exciting news about the possible prevention of some types of cancer through antioxidants, such as vitamin E, has been making the rounds lately.
Vitamin E supplementation may have a profound effect on reducing the burden of several major cancers, said Dr. Mark Moyad, PhD, of the University of Michigan. Prostate and bladder cancers are among those most responsive to vitamin E. A 1998 study in Finland found that vitamin E supplementation reduced deaths from prostate cancer by 32% out of a pool of 29,000 men.
Because of its low cost and the ease with which it can be purchased, vitamin E has to be one of the most potentially effective cancer prevention agents studied to date, concluded Dr. Moyad.
Vitamin E and Inflammation
Cleansing the body of damaging free radicals that contribute to inflammation may be another mission for vitamin E.
Inflammation is the heart of the matter, said Dr. Gerold M. Lemole, a prominent cardiovascular surgeon. It's becoming clear that inflammation plays an important causative role in heart disease. Elevated C-reactive protein levels can mark increased risk to the heart. Vitamin E's antioxidant effects may help lessen inflammation, but levels of the nutrient high enough to make a difference aren't readily available in the food supply. Supplementation with vitamin E, according to Dr. Lemole, may be the key.
Vitamin E and Eye Health
At Tufts University in New Jersey, a study has shown that individuals have higher levels of Vitamin E, have a lower risk of developing cataracts.
Dr. Paul F. Jacques, a researcher in nutrition and aging who is leading the study, said, Individuals who consume vitamin E supplements, or have higher plasma concentrations of Vitamin E have a lower risk of cataract. With 45% of Americans developing cataracts by age 85, and the anticipated increase of the elderly population as baby boomers age, vitamin E could prove to be a powerful tool.
One important link in all of these developments though, is that the current Recommended Daily Allowance of 15 mg is far too low to result in these health benefits. Most of the effects described above occurred when subjects were taking 400 to 600 IU of vitamin E daily.
To ensure your level of vitamin E is high enough to reap the possible benefits, a daily supplement of vitamin E is recommended, but it's up to you. You can take one pill, or eat 25 cups of raw spinach instead.