Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Orthomolecular Link Between Vitamin E and the Heart

The correlation between a diet rich in Vitamin E and the heart has been analyzed and overanalyzed for decades now, and in one of the earliest incidences of using orthomolecular medicine in the treatment of a disease, the Shute brothers pioneered the idea of using doses of Vitamin E to prevent heart ailments; the vitamin, in the form of d-alpha tocopherol, is an active anti-oxidant that prevents the formation of free radicals which are known to increase the risk of cancer, cardiac ailments and other regenerative diseases.

Vitamin E prevents blood from clotting and thus improves circulation and prevents embolisms which give rise to strokes. Besides decreasing the amount of oxygen required by tissues and the amount of insulin needed to control diabetes, this vitamin also has properties that help keep prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s disease at bay.

Studies that deal with primary prevention of heart disease (in healthy adults) over the course of a few years have been known to have positive results, with most of those treated showing little or no signs of the formation of atherosclerotic plaque, the natural hardening of the arteries that begins from childhood and contributes to heart diseases and strokes. But those that deal with secondary prevention – in people who are known to have a history of heart problems – have not had conclusive results, probably because of the added effects of diabetes, smoking, and drugs being used to treat existent medical conditions.

The ideal daily dosage of Vitamin E has been proved to be between 200 IU and 400 IU, with the American Heart Association warning people against taking Vitamin E supplements in levels greater than 1,500 IU per day, especially those who are on anti-clotting drugs since it’s an anticoagulant and increases the risk of bleeding. If you’re looking for your daily requirements of this powerful antioxidant, look no further than natural foods like vegetable oils, nuts, green leafy vegetables and whole grain cereals. There’s no need to take added supplements. A word of caution though – foods rich in Vitamin E are often rich in fat as well, so make sure you consult your doctor and dietician before you make any drastic changes in the way you eat.


This article is contributed by Sarah Scrafford, who regularly writes on the topic of x-ray technician schools. She invites your questions, comments and freelancing job inquiries at her email address:

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