A new study released from Johns Hopkins University last week is now warning the public against the use of high dose vitamin E. Researcher Edgar R Miller, MD looked at the results of nineteen different vitamin E studies encompassing 136,000 patients and stated ‘it was clear that as the vitamin E dose increased, so does all-cause mortality.’


Over the past fifteen plus years doctors have touted the benefits of high dose vitamin E- 400 international units (IU) daily to help prevent coronary artery disease and stroke. The driving force behind the rise in popularity of high dose vitamin E appeared to have come from observational studies rather than any rigorous scientific testing. In short there was a general consensus that even if vitamin E did not prevent heart disease, it didn’t do any harm either. High dose vitamin E was also given to women for cystic breast disease and other menstrual disorders with mixed results.


The initial observations given by patients to their physicians that they felt better were probably quite accurate. Much of America is short on all the major vitamin and mineral complexes. You give the body what it needs and it will behave. The problem lies in the fact that no one ever said stop, or don’t take it everyday. 400 IUs is a very large dose of vitamin E, more than double the recommended daily allowance (RDA).


So does the same hold true for all vitamins? The answer is mixed but when it comes to the fat-soluble vitamins that are stored in the liver- vitamins A, D, E and K yes, absolutely. Unlike vitamins B and C which are washed out via the urinary system, these vitamins are converted and stored and can actually interfere with liver function and blood clotting factors.


More studies are being called for considering the protocol and use of other fat-soluble vitamins, in particular vitamin D that is coupled with calcium supplements and fortified foods including milk, breads and cereals. The over use of vitamin D has long caused some researchers concern that studied individuals complain of more joint pain.


Although the alarm bell has been sounded this should not scare people into thinking that they shouldn’t take other important vitamins and food supplements. We do not live in a country where food is grown in mineral rich soil- that leaves us with foods that are less than nourishing.


Think of it this way, nature has a way of giving us what we need in just the right doses combined with all the other necessary working components. To get 400 IUs of vitamin E from a food you would have to eat one plus pounds of seeds a day. Sound right to you? Of course not.


If you are taking a multivitamin or multivitamin mineral supplement, read the label. Make sure you know what you are taking and never exceed to recommended dosages without the advise of your physician. Till next time, Rebecca