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IS THERE A LINK BETWEEN LOW VITAMIN E LEVELS AND HEART DISEASE? Government Data Shows Populations with Low Vitamin E; More Research Needed
Release date: 7/1/2005

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. July 1, 2005 — Pharmavite LLC, makers of Nature Made® vitamins urges the scientific community to examine the impact of low vitamin E blood levels on special populations. The company cited a government survey (The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III or NHANES III) which revealed that African Americans and Mexican Americans have low vitamin E blood levels, compared with the general population. This is important because some clinical studies have shown a correlation between low vitamin E levels and heart disease – the nation’s number one killer.

NHANES examined the health and nutrition habits of more than 16,000 Americans and found 41 percent of African Americans, 28 percent of Mexican Americans and 32 percent of other Americans had low blood levels of alpha-tocopherol, or vitamin E.

“There has been a lot of discussion on the potential risks of too much vitamin E, but almost no talk about the risks of too little,” said David Madsen, Ph.D., Pharmavite Director of Scientific Affairs. “A review of government data shows certain populations have low vitamin E levels, and some studies suggest a relationship between this trait and heart disease. More research is needed to learn the significance, if any, of low vitamin E levels for these populations.”

Madsen cited a World Health Organization study of 1,600 subjects in six countries which concluded that a low blood level of vitamin E was a stronger predictor of coronary heart disease mortality than cholesterol. He also identified an Indian study which compared the vitamin E levels of healthy people with those who had coronary heart disease. Even after controlling for age and other coronary risk factors, the authors found an inverse association between low vitamin E levels and coronary heart disease. The authors concluded that vitamin E deficiency may be an independent risk factor of coronary heart disease.

“We know low blood levels of vitamin E are associated with an elevated risk of coronary heart disease. The NHANES data show a significant prevalence of low blood levels of vitamin E in the U.S. population. This information makes it vital to learn more about the impact of low vitamin E levels on the risk for coronary heart disease in the U.S. population,” Madsen said.

Ford ES, Sowell A. Serum alpha-tocopherol status in the United States population: findings from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Am J Epidemiol. 1999; 150 (3): 290 – 300.
Gey KF, Puska P, Jordan P, Moser UK: Inverse correlation between plasma vitamin E and mortality from ischemic heart disease in cross-cultural epidemiology. Am J Clin Nutr 1991; 53:326S-334S.
Rajasekhar D, Srinivasa Rao PV, Latheef SA, Saibaba KS, Subramanyam G. Association of serum antioxidants and risk of coronary heart disease in South Indian Population. Indian J Med Sci. 2004 Nov; 58 (11): 465-71.

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