Moderate vitamin E supplementation may lower diabetics' cardiovascular risk

October 31, 2000

Diabetics have a 3- to 4- fold risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is their leading cause of death. In an article published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Engelen et al. found that a moderate dose of vitamin E may correct the lipid peroxidation disorders that lead to increased CVD risk in diabetics. A moderate dose of the antioxidant vitamin E slowed the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, although lipid profiles and glycemic index did not change.

Two groups of 22 subjects each with Type 1 diabetes participated in the one year study. One group received 250 IU of vitamin E three times per day for a year, while the other received a placebo for 6 months, followed by 6 months of supplementation. In the supplemented group oxidation of LDL decreased significantly with vitamin E supplementation until three months into the study, at which point serum vitamin E concentrations were 2-4 times presupplementation levels and the rate of LDL oxidation stabilized and remained low for the remainder of the study. The placebo group had the same experience when they began supplementation at 6 months with vitamin E. Three months after the supplementation, plasma concentrations of vitamin E had returned to baseline values, and the therapeutic effect had disappeared. This phenomenon, which has also been noted in other studies of vitamin E, suggests that uninterrupted supplementation is preferable to a short-term "cure" using high-doses or intravenous administration of vitamin E.
The authors suggest that this study's results are clinically relevant, and continuous long term supplementation for diabetics should be carefully considered.

Engelen, Wendy et al. Effects of long-term supplementation with moderate pharmacologic doses of vitamin E are saturable and reversible in patients with type 1 diabetes. Am J Clin Nutr 2000;72:1142-44.

For more information please contact: Dr. B. Manuel y Keenoy at This media release is provided by The American Society for Clinical Nutrition, to provide current information on nutrition-related research. This information should not be construed as medical advice. If you have a medical concern, consult your doctor. To see the complete text of this article, please go to:

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

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