Milk provides unique benefits in vitamin E enrichments of plasma lipids

July 24, 2001

Saturated fat found in dairy products may contribute to cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, while vitamin E, a lipid antioxidant, may have a protective affect against CVD. In research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Hayes et al. studied the potential of vitamin E to offset the potential CVD risk effects of milk fat by adding the vitamin to milk at different dosage levels, in different forms, and through different dispersion methods. In comparison to other forms of vitamin E delivery, milk had an enhanced ability to transport vitamin E to plasma lipoproteins.

The researchers conducted three experiments over 10 weeks, in which the 48 participants consumed milk that had been fortified with different combinations of vitamins A and D, and lower (30 mg.) or higher doses (100 mg or 200 mg) of vitamin E. Orange juice and vitamin E capsules were also tested as alternative forms of delivery. The addition of vitamins A and D to the milk had no effect on the transfer of vitamin E to plasma lipids, and orange juice was considerably less effective than milk for transport. Milk was uniquely superior for transport of vitamin E at higher, but not lower, dosage levels. When microdispersed in milk, the vitamin was delivered to plasma lipids at more than twice the rate as that from vitamin E capsules. After 4 weeks of consuming two glasses of 1% fat milk blended with 200 mg vitamin E per day, the subjects had a 9% drop in total cholesterol and a 10.7% drop in LDL cholesterol concentrations.

Fortification of milk with vitamins A and D is already widely practiced and acknowledged as providing health benefits, and the authors suggest that additional fortification of milk with vitamin E is warranted due to milk's enhanced ability to transport this vitamin to plasma lipoproteins.
Hayes, KC et al. Vitamin E in fortified cow milk uniquely enriches human plasma lipoproteins. Am J Clin Nutr 2001;74:211-8

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