What You Need to Know About Vitamin E Supplements

vitamin E supplements
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Vitamin E is known to play a key role in immune function and in certain metabolic processes. Since vitamin E is an antioxidant, it's also thought to fight off free radicals (chemical byproducts shown to damage DNA). Vitamin E supplements are often touted as a natural means of treating or preventing the following health problems:

  • hot flashes
  • inflammation
  • Parkinson's disease

Although vitamin E is found naturally in a number of foods, many people take vitamin E supplements in an effort to boost their levels of this essential nutrient. Individuals with illnesses like liver disease or Crohn's disease may need extra vitamin E, however most people can achieve adequate vitamin E intake through diet alone.

Benefits of Vitamin E Supplements

To date, research on the health effects of vitamin E supplements has yielded mixed results. However, the majority of clinical studies indicate that taking vitamin E supplements does not offer a significant health benefit. For instance, a 2005 report reviewed 19 clinical trials on vitamin E and found that vitamin E supplements failed to reduce risk of heart disease or cancer. What's more, the report's authors determined that study members who received a placebo had a slightly longer lifespan (compared to those who took vitamin E supplements).

Despite the lack of scientific support for the benefits of vitamin E supplements, a number of studies show that following a diet high in vitamin-E-rich foods (such as wheat germ oil, almonds, and sunflower seeds) may help reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease and lung cancer.

Using Vitamin E Supplements for Health

If you're considering the use of vitamin E supplements for prevention or treatment of any type of health condition, make sure to consult your doctor to weigh the potential risks and benefits.

You should also talk to your doctor if you experience symptoms of vitamin E deficiency (such as muscle weakness, visual problems, and a poor sense of balance). In some cases, taking vitamin E supplements in high doses may cause adverse effects (including nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and diarrhea). What's more, some research suggests that improper use of vitamin E supplements may lead to increased risk of heart failure.

Keep in mind that alternative medicine should not be used as a substitute for standard care. Self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.


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Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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