Do Vitamin C and Vitamin E Improve Heart Health?

Nov 28, 2008 by

Do Vitamin C and Vitamin E Improve Heart Health?

Recently, results from the Physicians’ Health Study II were to be presented at the American Heart Association’s 2008 Scientific Sessions.

The study had found neither vitamin C nor vitamin E supplementation to have an effect in reducing major cardiovascular outcomes, when compared to placebo.

However, the study also highlighted some limitations of its findings. First, it only included male physicians in the US. Exposure and some endpoint assessments were also obtained using a questionnaire which was mailed, and thus bias could have affected its collated results.

Further, the subjects were followed for a mean period of 8 years. This may not have been sufficient to establish any link, and it is possible that a longer period of follow-up would have caused correlations to show up. In addition, it is also possible that a different dose might have caused a visible difference.

The fact is, the two vitamins had been linked in earlier epidemiological studies to improved cardiovascular outcomes. Thus, we should not ditch their potential usefulness in preventing and combating the disease.

In response to the study, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), which is a trade association representing the dietary supplement industry, issued a statement.

Said Andrew Shao, PhD, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs of CRN, “We commend the researchers for undertaking this important prevention trial which sought to confirm positive results demonstrated by earlier observational trials on these antioxidant vitamins. Although the results did not demonstrate an overall benefit, the results also do not discount the earlier epidemiological data showing that people with high intakes of vitamins E and C may have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Nutrition research is extremely complex, and doesn’t always provide clear cut answers. This study raises an interesting set of scientific challenges as to why the benefits found in observational studies have not been confirmed in this kind of trial.”

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