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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 years. (2)
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 the International 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. http://ageing.oxfordjournals.org/content/40/2/215.short
- 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 1;123(5):1173-80.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18546288 For further information: Vitamin E prevents lung cancer. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, Oct 29, 2008. http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v04n18.shtml
- 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.) http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/273/23/1849.short
- 400 to 800 IU of vitamin E daily reduces risk of heart attack by 77%. (Stephens NG et al. Randomized controlled trial of vitamin E in patients with coronary artery disease: Cambridge Heart Antioxidant Study (CHAOS). Lancet, March 23, 1996; 347:781-786.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8622332
- 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 http://www.thoracic.org/newsroom/press-releases/conference/articles/2010/vitamine-e.pdf
- 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 May 6;362(18):1675-85.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20427778
- 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 http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/719537/alzheimers_patients_who_take_vitamin.html?cat=5See 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 at http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/71/2/630s )
- 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; 30(1):84-9.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2643513
- 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) http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/173/6/595.short
- 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. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa0907929
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 the planet.
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 http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v06n09.shtml and http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v06n25.shtml
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. http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v07n05.shtml . 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 http://orthomolecular.org/library/jom/2003/pdf/2003-v18n0304-p205.pdf or 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. http://www.doctoryourself.com/estory.htm
3. Klein EA, Thompson Jr, IM, Tangen CM et al. JAMA. 2011;306(14):1549-1556.
http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/306/14/1549 Also, 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. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ijc.25546/abstract
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. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejlt.200700068/abstract
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. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15753178?dopt=AbstractPlus
Also of Interest:
Vitamin E research ignored by major news media. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, May 25, 2010 http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v06n19.shtml
Article extracted from the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service,
Consider free membership: http://orthomolecular.org/subscribe.html and check out older items: http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/index.shtml
We – just as you are, are only too well aware of the fragility of global political and emergency events these days. For a number of years we have been purchasing a full Shelter Box whenever there is a significant event in which thousands of people suffer loss of homes and start to feel isolated and hungry. The company feels that immediate assistance is what is required and shelterbox deliver their remarkably efficient kits very fast, getting people undershelter, protected from the worst of the elements and able to prepare food. Our latest box has gone To Kenya, we hope it helps and wish that it would be the last needed. However, we know that is unlikely and are fully prepared to support Shelter Box again when the need arises.
Allergy Research Group, as with all manufacturers from time to time replace or discontinue products and do so for various reasons. CoQsol-CF™ with tocotrienols (#75460) , is being replaced by Co enzyme Q10 with tocotrienols (#73460).
Coenzyme Q10 with Tocotrienols provides CoQ10 with mixed tocotrienols, in a rice bran oil base (from brown rice). CoQ10, or ubiquinone, is an essential component of the mitochondria, critical for energy production, and an important antioxidant. Tocotrienols are important members of the vitamin E family. Rice bran oil provides a high amount of gamma-tocotrienol and gamma-tocopherol. Oil-based CoQ10 has better absorption and bioavailability than a powdered form.
CoQH-CF™ (ubiquinol) is a reduced form of coenzyme Q10, and is the actual antioxidant form of coenzyme Q10. A unique softgel delivery system protects the content from oxygen exposure and provides an efficient way to maintain adequate ubiquinol levels. This unique form of CoQ10 remains available as single supplement product #76070 supplies 60 caps of 100mg.
2011 marks the 20th anniversary of The Institute for Functional Medicine.
Antony Haynes and Leonie Ash attended the 20th International Symposium in Seattle with Mike Ash, who presented for the second time at an IFM Symposium. He gave two superb presentations to the 600+ audience of doctors and health practitioners from over 20 countries.
The Symposium subject this year was: The Challenge of Emerging Infections in the 21st Century: Terrain, Tolerance, and Susceptibility.
On the night of the 20th Anniversary Party, we had the fantastic opportunity of meeting members of the teaching faculty who, with some esteemed guests, have signed a commemorative celebratory poster – http://www.nutri-linkltd.co.uk/documents/IFM_20th_Poster.pdf – which we proudly brought back to the UK.
Here are some of the luminaries who signed the poster:
• David Jones MD, President and Director of Medical Education & Co-Founder of IFM.
• Mark Hyman MD, Chairman of IFM with his latest book ‘The UltraMind Solution’ being his 4th New York Times best seller.
• Laurie Hoffman MPH, Executive Director
• Catherine Willner MD, neurologist and previous Linus Pauling Award winner.
• Bethany Hays MD, gynaecologist & faculty teacher on the AFMCP.
• Joel Evans MD, Founder and Director of The Centre for Women’s Health
Why not consider attending the inaugural AFMCP-UK seminar this year: www.afmcp-uk.org
Over a twenty-seven year period, vitamin supplements have been alleged to have caused the deaths of a total of eleven people in the United States. A new analysis of US poison control center annual report data indicates that there have, in fact, been no deaths whatsoever from vitamins . . . none at all, in the 27 years that such reports have been available. Read the rest of this entry »
AFMCP™ is not a typical medical meeting. Now in its 14th year, this five-day course has been rigorously designed, critically evaluated, and continuously refined by our outstanding core faculty, each of whom brings diverse and subject-specific clinical expertise to the application of functional medicine.
AFMCP™ is a well-orchestrated, comprehensive, patient-centered educational program that helps you deepen your clinical understanding and practical application of the Functional Medicine Matrix Model as applied to:
practical application of the Functional Medicine Matrix Model as applied to:
|GIT Dysfunction||Metabolic Syndrome|
|Hormonal Imbalance||Nutritional Status|
|Inflammation||Adrenal and Thyroid Fatigue|
|Orthopaedic Issues||Therapeutic Relationship|
|Immune Dysfunction||Toxins & Biotransformation|
Nutri-Link is the lead sponsor for the inaugural AFMCP™-UK course based in London from the 3rd-7th October. To learn more about the event and how you might benefit from this unique opportunity visit the AFMCP™-UK web site.
As a company we have supported the work of ShelterBox based in Cornwall for the last few years and purchase one of their remarkable support boxes whenever we can. In response to the recent and dramatic events in Japan we have purchased a box to assist with the immediate support of families who have lost all their posessions and homes due to the tsunami and earthquake. I am sure that like us you cannot imagine the devastation and effects this will have on families and their work, their ability to function and the enormous difficulty in recovering.
The television provides us with information that seems too vast to take in, and whilst our donation seems alsmost insignificant in the face of the disastor the 10 people who will have a temporary shelter and all necessary tools to function will we hope know that others from around the world are thinking of them and wish them all the best in their challnges.
The ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) operating in Japan is continuing its work in the Iwate Prefecture, one of the areas worst affected by the tsunami.
The team has been based in and around Rikuzentakata and Ofinato, two towns which were hit by the full fury of the tsunami. In Rikuzentakata, according to the latest reports, more than 80% of the 8,000 households have been swept away. The town was well prepared against earthquakes and tsunamis but its 6.5 metre high seawall could do nothing to stop the force of the wave.
‘In the Iwate Prefecture alone close to 50,000 people are in temporary shelter, more the 10,000 are isolated and 4,000 are missing,’ added ShelterBox Head of Operations John Leach.
Thank you very much indeed for such excellent service. The telephone manner of your staff is professional and friendly and I felt very well looked after by every person that I dealt with.
After my initial call, my order arrived in Malta after a few days. Sadly the bottles had broken in transit. I called and was immediately told that I would be contacted the next day. I was left a message saying that the supplements had been resent. They arrived today in a box in perfect condition within a few days time. On the form it says that the order was taken by Kim and packaged by Paul. Thank you to you both and to all of the other wonderful members of staff I spoke to. I will certainly be using your company in the future,
with warm regards
The European Federation for Naturopathy (EFN), initiated a huge protest against, inter alia, the absurdly discriminatory legislation in Germany which had made all nutritional supplements which had a physiological effect ‘prescription-only medicines’.
The protest was aimed at the German Federal Ministry for Nutrition, Agriculture and Consumer Protection. Close on 60 thousand German State-registered Naturopathic Practitioners (Naturheilpraktiker) were motivated to have their patients, estimated at around 38 million, sign a petition at each practice reception and have them send e-mails and letters to a few hand-picked individuals at that Ministry. They reportedly each had to contend with an average of 15 thousand such communications every day over the past year.
The EFN is reporting that the campaign was an enormous success, in that it achieved the following three things:
(i) Removal of the legal requirement for physiologically active nutritional supplements to be classified as ‘p.o.m.’ medicines in Germany;
(ii) Making notification to the competent authority compulsory by laboratories the presence of undesirable substances in foodstuffs and animal feeds in amounts that might give rise for concern;
(iii) Foodstuff and animal feed enterprises will be obliged to report to the competent authority results of self-monitoring with respect to dioxins, furan and dioxin-like compounds, as well as non-dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls. Mass protests usually have an effect.
The hope we must all carry forward is that public and professional opinion is the defining voice in democracys as well as it appears these days in autocracies, but we have to harness it. For the UK and EU the Alliance for Natural Health is preparing a substantive legal challenge and requires financial as well as moral support. Please visit http://www.anh-europe.org/
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