Below is an article that should be read by all. Main stream media likes to
focus on science that appears to debunk the value of vitamins.
Unfortunately, unless you do your own research, you may walk away from the
vitamins and supplements that very well could keep you healthy for years to
*FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE*
*Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, October 14, 2011*
Vitamin E Attacked Again
Of Course. Because It Works.
*by Andrew W. Saul*
Editor, Orthomolecular Medicine News Service
(OMNS, Oct 14, 2011) The very first Orthomolecular Medicine News Service
release was on the clinical benefits of vitamin E. That was seven years ago.
(1) In fact, the battle over vitamin E has been going full-tilt for over 60
Well, you can say one thing for vitamin critics: at least they are
consistent. Consistently wrong, but consistent.
A recent accusation against vitamin E is that somehow it increases risk of
prostate cancer. (3) That is nonsense. If you take close look at the
numbers, you will see that “Compared with placebo, the absolute increase in
risk of prostate cancer per 1000 person-years was 1.6 for vitamin E, 0.8 for
selenium, and 0.4 for the combination.” That works out to be a claimed 0.63%
increase risk with vitamin E alone, 0.24% increase in risk with vitamin E
and selenium, and 0.15% increase in risk for selenium alone.
Note the decimal points: these are very small figures. But more importantly,
note that the combination of selenium with vitamin E resulted in a much
smaller number of deaths. If vitamin E were really the problem, vitamin E
with selenium would have been a worse problem. Selenium recharges vitamin E,
recycling it and effectively rendering it more potent. Something is wrong
here, and it isn’t the vitamin E. Indeed, a higher dose of vitamin E might
work as well as E with selenium, and be more protective.
And, in fact, this study did show that supplementation was beneficial.
Vitamin E and selenium reduced risk of all-cause mortality by about 0.2%.,
and also reduced the risk of serious cardiovascular events by 0.3%. Vitamin
E reduced risk of serious cardiovascular events by 0.7%. But what you were
told, and just about all you were told, was “Vitamin E causes cancer!”
The oldest political trick in the book is to create doubt, then fear, and
then conformity of action. The pharmaceutical industry knows this full well.
One does not waste time and money attacking something that does not work.
Vitamin E works, and the evidence is abundant.
Specifically in regards to prostate cancer, new research published in
Journal of Cancer* has shown that *gamma-tocotrienol, a cofactor found in
natural vitamin E preparations, actually kills prostate cancer stem cells*.
(4) As you would expect, these are the very cells from which prostate cancer
develops. They are or quickly become chemotherapy-resistant. And yet natural
vitamin E complex contains the very thing to kill them. Mice given
gamma-tocotrienol orally had an astonishing 75% decrease in tumor formation.
Gamma-tocotrienol also is effective against existing prostate tumors. (5,6)
- *Vitamin E reduces mortality by 24% in persons 71 or older.* Even
persons who smoke live longer if they take vitamin E. Hemila H, Kaprio J.
Age Ageing, 2011. 40(2): 215-220. January 17.
- *Taking 300 IU vitamin E per day reduces lung cancer by 61%.* (Mahabir
S, Schendel K, Dong YQ et al. Dietary alpha-, beta-, gamma- and
delta-tocopherols in lung cancer risk. Int J Cancer. 2008 Sep
further information: Vitamin E prevents lung cancer. Orthomolecular Medicine
News Service, Oct 29, 2008.
- *Vitamin E is an effective treatment for atherosclerosis.* Drs. Wilfrid
and Evan Shute knew this half a century ago. (1) In 1995, JAMA published
research that confirmed it, saying: “Subjects with supplementary vitamin E
intake of 100 IU per day or greater demonstrated less coronary artery lesion
progression than did subjects with supplementary vitamin E intake less than
100 IU per day.” (Hodis HN, Mack WJ, LaBree L et al. Serial coronary
angiographic evidence that antioxidant vitamin intake reduces progression of
coronary artery atherosclerosis. JAMA, 1995. 273:1849-1854.)
- *400 to 800 IU of vitamin E daily reduces risk of heart attack by
NG et al. Randomized controlled trial of vitamin E in patients with coronary
artery disease: Cambridge Heart Antioxidant Study (CHAOS). Lancet, March 23,
- *Increasing vitamin E with supplements prevents COPD* [Chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, chronic bronchitis] (Agler AH et
al. Randomized vitamin E supplementation and risk of chronic lung disease
(CLD) in the Women’s Health Study. American Thoracic Society 2010
International Conference, May 18, 2010.) Summary at
- *800 IU vitamin E per day is a successful treatment for fatty liver
disease.* (Sanyal AJ, Chalasani N, Kowdley KV et al. Pioglitazone,
vitamin E, or placebo for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. N Engl J Med. 2010
- *Alzheimer’s patients who take 2,000 IU of vitamin E per day live
longer.* (Pavlik VN, Doody RS, Rountree SD, Darby EJ. Vitamin E use is
associated with improved survival in an Alzheimer’s disease cohort. Dement
Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2009;28(6):536-40.) Summary at
See also: Grundman M. Vitamin E and Alzheimer disease: the basis for
additional clinical trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Feb;71(2):630S-636S. Free
access to full text
- *400 IU of Vitamin E per day reduces epileptic seizures in children by
more than 60%.* (Ogunmekan AO, Hwang PA. A randomized, double-blind,
placebo-controlled, clinical trial of D-alpha-tocopheryl acetate [vitamin
E], as add-on therapy, for epilepsy in children. Epilepsia. 1989 Jan-Feb;
- *Vitamin E supplements help prevent amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
(ALS).* This important finding is the result of a 10-year-plus Harvard
study of over a million persons. (Wang H, O’Reilly EJ, Weisskopf MG, et al.
Vitamin E intake and risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a pooled
analysis of data from 5 prospective cohort studies. Am. J. Epidemiol, 2011.
173 (6): 595-602. March 15)
- *Vitamin E is more effective than a prescription drug in treating
chronic liver disease* (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis). Said the authors:
“The good news is that this study showed that cheap and readily available
vitamin E can help many of those with this condition.” Sanyal AJ, Chalasani
N, Kowdley KV et al. Pioglitazone, vitamin E, or placebo for nonalcoholic
steatohepatitis. N Engl J Med. 2010 May 6;362(18):1675-85.
What Kind of Vitamin E?
Which work best: natural or synthetic vitamins? The general debate might not
end anytime soon. However, with vitamin E, we already know. The best E is
the most natural form, generally called “mixed natural tocopherols and
tocotrienols.” This is very different from the synthetic form, DL-alpha
tocopherol. In choosing a vitamin E supplement, you should carefully read
the label… the entire label. It is remarkable how many natural-looking
brown bottles with natural-sounding brand names contain a synthetic vitamin.
And no, we do not make brand recommendations. Furthermore, OMNS has no
commercial affiliations or funding.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case with some authors of the negative vitamin
E paper. (3) You will not see this in the abstract at the JAMA website, of
course, but if you read the entire paper, and get to the very last page
(1556), you’ll find the “Conflict of Interest” section. Here you will
discover that a number of the study authors have received money from
pharmaceutical companies, including Merck, Pfizer, Sanofi-Aventis,
AstraZeneca, Abbott, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen, Amgen, Firmagon, and
Novartis. In terms of cash, these are some of the largest corporations on
Well how about that: a “vitamins are dangerous” article, in one of the most
popular medical journals, with lots of media hype … and the
pharmaceutical industry’s fingerprints all over it.
So How Much Vitamin E?
More than the RDA, and that’s for certain. A common dosage range for vitamin
E is between 200 and 800 IU/day. Some orthomolecular physicians advocate
substantially more than that. The studies cited above will give you a
ballpark idea. However, this is an individual matter for you and your
practitioner to work out. Your own reading and research, before you go to
your doctor, will help you determine optimal intake. If your doctor quotes a
negative vitamin study, then haul out the positive ones. You may start with
this article. There are more links to more information at
And as for the old saw argument that supplement-users are supposedly dying
like flies, consider this: Over 200 million Americans take vitamin
supplements. So where are the bodies? Well, there aren’t any. There has not
been a single death from vitamins in 27 years.
Share that with your doctor as well. And with the news media.
*(Andrew W. Saul has been an orthomolecular medical writer and lecturer for
35 years. He received the Outstanding Health Freedom Activist Award from
Citizen’s for Health, and is the winner of three Empire State teacher
fellowships. Saul is author or coauthor of 10 books, four of which are with
Abram Hoffer, M.D..)*
2. Saul AW. Vitamin E: A cure in search of recognition. J Orthomolecular
Med, 2003. Vol 18, No 3 and 4, p 205-212. Free download at
html at http://www.doctoryourself.com/evitamin.htm
See also: Saul AW. Review of The vitamin E story, by Evan Shute. J
Orthomolecular Med, 2002. Volume 17, Number 3, Third Quarter, p 179-181.
3. Klein EA, Thompson Jr, IM, Tangen CM et al. JAMA.
as an example of many media spins:
4. Sze Ue Luk1, Wei Ney Yap, Yung-Tuen Chiu et al. Gamma-tocotrienol as an
effective agent in targeting prostate cancer stem cell-like population.
International Journal of Cancer, 2011. Vol 128, No 9, p 2182-2191.
5. Nesaretnam K, Teoh HK, Selvaduray KR, Bruno RS, Ho E. Modulation of cell
growth and apoptosis response in human prostate cancer cells supplemented
with tocotrienols. Eur. J. Lipid Sci. Technol. 2008, 110, 23-31.
6. Conte C, Floridi A, Aisa C et al. Gamma-tocotrienol metabolism and
antiproliferative effect in prostate cancer cells. Annals of the New York
Academy of Sciences, 2004. 1031: 391-4.
Also of Interest:
Vitamin E research ignored by major news media. Orthomolecular Medicine News
Service, May 25, 2010
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Ralph K. Campbell, M.D. (USA)
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Gert E. Shuitemaker, Ph.D. (Netherlands)
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