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Vitamin E: Friend or Foe?

Nutrition News Flash
  -- By Becky Hand, Licensed & Registered Dietitian
Vitamin E works as an antioxidant, preventing a chemical reaction called oxidation, which can sometimes result in harmful effects on the body. Knowing that vitamin E is an important nutrient, many people take large, mega-doses of it because they believe that it will help reduce the oxidation effect, slow the aging process and prevent cancer and heart disease.

Recently researchers looked at over 19 vitamin-E studies conducted between 1993-2004. More than 136,000 people where involved in these studies. In some of the studies the participants took only vitamin E, while in other studies a combination of vitamin supplements were taken including vitamin E. The investigation of these studies found that people who took more than 400 International Units (IU) of vitamin E a day died at a higher rate than those who did not take supplements. 

Action Sparked
There are 8 different naturally occurring forms of vitamin E. Most supplements only contain one form. Supplements do not provide the same benefits as food sources. Therefore, try to increase your dietary intake of vitamin E through foods such as wheat germ, vegetable oils, salad dressings, nuts, seeds, peanuts, peanut butter, whole grains, fish and eggs. Don’t exceed 400 IU of vitamin E per day. More research is needed regarding the functions of the various forms of vitamin E and how much is needed to protect against disease.