Role of Vitamin E in Preventing Cancer or Cardiovascular Disease

FREE PREVIEW Log in or buy this issue to read the full article. AAFP members and paid subscribers get free access to all articles. Subscribe now.

FREE PREVIEW Subscribe or buy this issue. AAFP members and paid subscribers get free access to all articles.

Am Fam Physician. 2005 Nov 15;72(10):2087.

Clinical Question: Is vitamin E effective in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer among healthy women?

Setting: Population-based

Study Design: Randomized controlled trial (double-blinded)

Allocation: Concealed

Synopsis: Evidence from observational trials suggests that vitamin E may be effective in preventing cardiovascular disease and cancer in women. In the Women’s Health Study, investigators randomized 39,876 healthy women who were 45 years or older to receive: (1) 600 IU of natural-source vitamin E every other day, (2) placebo and 100 mg of aspirin every other day, or (3) placebo only in a 2 × 2 factorial design. Persons blinded to treatment group assignment assessed outcomes. Follow-up occurred for an average of 10.1 years in more than 97 percent of the patients.

Using intention-to-treat analysis, investigators found that vitamin E did not significantly reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events, including myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, or hemorrhagic stroke. Although vitamin E slightly reduced the risk of cardiovascular death (number needed to treat for 10.1 years = 586; 95% confidence interval, 306 to 6,058), all-cause mortality was not significantly reduced. Vitamin E did not significantly decrease the risk of any cancer, including breast, lung, and colorectal cancers. Cancer mortality was not significantly lower in any group.

Bottom Line: Vitamin E does not reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease or cancer or the rate of total mortality among healthy women 45 years or older. (Level of Evidence: 1b)

Study Reference:

Lee IM, et al. Vitamin E in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer. The Women’s Health Study: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA July 6. 2005;294:56-65.

Used with permission from Slawson D. Vitamin E doesn't lower women's risk of CVD or cancer (WHS). Accessed online August 22, 2005, at: http://www.InfoPOEMs.com.


Want to use this article elsewhere? Get Permissions

Article Tools

  • Print page
  • Share this page

CME Quiz

Information From Industry

Navigate this Article