E-Z way to protect your arteries
Can something as
simple as taking a daily vitamin protect your heart from disease ? Several
studies indicate that vitamin E helps prevent bad LDL cholesterol from
becoming oxidized, which contributes to the buildup of artery-clogging
Vitamin E may be particularly effective in protecting fats from becoming
oxidized because it is a fat-soluble vitamin. Numerous studies have found
that vitamin E can help protect your heart and blood vessels from free
radical damage, which helps prevent heart disease.
One study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that men who had
taken at least 100 international units (IU) of vitamin E a day for at least
two years had 37 percent fewer heart attacks than men who didn't take
vitamin e supplements. Another study found that women who took vitamin E
supplements for more than two years had 41 percent fewer heart attacks.
Those studies were done on people who had no history of heart disease.
The Cambridge Heart Antioxidant Study (CHAOS) was designed to find out if
vitamin E could help people who already had heart disease.
Researchers gave the study participants 400 or 800 IU of vitamin E daily.
After about 200 days of treatment, the participants' risk of having a
nonfatal heart attack was reduced by 77 percent. Although the vitamin E
didn't have an effect on death rates, the researchers pointed out that most
deaths occurred early in the study, before the vitamin e would have had a
chance to work.
On the other hand, a more recent study disputes the findings of these
earlier studies. Researchers in Canada gave over 9,000 people either a
supplement containing 400 IU of vitamin E or a placebo.
After four to six years, there was no significant difference in the
number of people in each group who had a heart attack or stroke or died from
Researchers who conducted the study say that these results are a strong
indication that vitamin E does not protect against heart disease. However,
they note that everyone in the study had heart disease or diabetes and at
least one other factor for a heart attack or stroke.
Despite the negative results of this study, the bulk of evidence still
indicates that vitamin E can protect against heart disease.
If you decide to take vitamin E supplements, be aware that those made
from natural sources are better absorbed by your body than synthetic ones.
You can tell if a supplement contains natural or synthetic vitamin E by
reading the label. Natural vitamin E is listed as d-alpha-tocopherol and
synthetic is listed as dl-alpha-tocopheryl.
Good food sources of vitamin E include wheat germ oil, olive oil, peanuts,
almonds, and sunflower seeds.