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Am Fam Physician. 2004;70(9):1761

Clinical Question: Does vitamin E have a role in the treatment or prevention of heart disease?

Setting: Various (meta-analysis)

Study Design: Meta-analysis (randomized controlled trials)

Synopsis: Investigators in this systematic review searched 11 databases for research on vitamin E and its relatives. The authors located 8,173 studies in any language, and narrowed this number to 84 controlled trials of vitamin E that evaluated clinical outcomes. In six studies, in which follow-up ranged from two to seven years, vitamin E supplementation did not affect mortality when used as secondary or primary prevention. Cardiovascular mortality rates were similar when the five large studies were combined. Vitamin E therapy had no effect on rates of fatal or nonfatal myocardial infarction. Vitamin E also did not increase the risk of any outcomes. In these studies, thousands of patients were evaluated. However, most of the studies were of low quality (i.e., Jadad score: 3 or less out of a possible 5).

Bottom Line: Vitamin E has no effect on the cardiovascular system. It is not useful for the prevention or treatment of heart disease. (Level of Evidence: 1a)

POEMs (patient-oriented evidence that matters) are provided by Essential Evidence Plus, a point-of-care clinical decision support system published by Wiley-Blackwell. For more information, see http://www.essentialevidenceplus.com. Copyright Wiley-Blackwell. Used with permission.

For definitions of levels of evidence used in POEMs, see http://www.essentialevidenceplus.com/product/ebm_loe.cfm?show=oxford.

To subscribe to a free podcast of these and other POEMs that appear in AFP, search in iTunes for “POEM of the Week” or go to http://goo.gl/3niWXb.

This series is coordinated by Sumi Sexton, MD, editor-in-chief.

A collection of POEMs published in AFP is available at https://www.aafp.org/afp/poems.

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