Vitamins E and C supplements not effective for prevention of cardiovascular disease in men

Nov 10, 2008

Neither vitamin E nor vitamin C supplements reduced the risk of major cardiovascular events in a large, long-term study of male physicians, according to a study in the November 12 issue of JAMA. The article is being released early online November 9 to coincide with the scientific presentation of the study findings at the American Heart Association meeting.

Most adults in the United States have taken vitamin supplements in the past year, according to background information provided by the authors. "Basic research studies suggest that vitamin E, vitamin C, and other antioxidants reduce cardiovascular disease by trapping organic free radicals, by deactivating excited oxygen molecules, or both, to prevent tissue damage." Some previous observational studies have supported a role for vitamin E in cardiovascular disease prevention. Some previous observational studies have also shown a role for vitamin C in reducing coronary heart disease risk.

In this study, known as the Physicians' Health Study II, Howard D. Sesso, Sc.D, M.P.H., and colleagues from Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School and School of Public Health and VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, assessed the effects of vitamin E and vitamin C supplements on the risk of major cardiovascular disease events among 14,641 male physicians. These physicians were 50 years or older and at low risk of cardiovascular disease at the beginning of the study in 1997, and 754 (5.1 percent) had prevalent cardiovascular disease. The study participants were randomized to receive 400 IU of vitamin E every other day or a placebo and 500 mg of vitamin C daily or a placebo.

"During a mean (average) follow-up of 8 years, there were 1,245 confirmed major cardiovascular events," the researchers report. There were 511 total myocardial infarctions (heart attacks), 464 total strokes, and 509 cardiovascular deaths, with some men experiencing multiple events. A total of 1,661 men died during follow-up. Compared with placebo, neither vitamin E nor vitamin C had an effect on the prevention of major cardiovascular events. "Neither vitamin E nor vitamin C had a significant effect on total mortality, but vitamin E was associated with an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke."

In conclusion the authors write: "In this large, long-term trial of male physicians, neither vitamin E nor vitamin C supplementation reduced the risk of major cardiovascular events. These data provide no support for the use of these supplements for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in middle-aged and older men."

Citation: JAMA. 2008;300[18]:2123-2133. www.jamamedia.org

Source: JAMA and Archives Journals

Explore further: Sierra Leone, Liberia brace for new Ebola cases

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Rabbits kept indoors could be vitamin D deficient

Apr 09, 2014

Rabbits that remain indoors may suffer from a lack of vitamin D, researchers report in a new study. In rabbits kept as pets or used in laboratory studies, the deficiency could lead to dental problems, undermine ...

Heart prevention in people with diabetes using vitamin B1

Dec 06, 2010

Diabetes leaves the heart more vulnerable to stress as less oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the heart and other organs. Heart damage can be caused by high levels of glucose entering cardiovascular cells, ...

Recommended for you

Sierra Leone, Liberia brace for new Ebola cases

55 minutes ago

Two of the West African nations hardest hit by Ebola were bracing for new caseloads on Monday after trying to outflank the outbreak with a nationwide checkup and a large new clinic.

Reversing the effects of pulmonary fibrosis

1 hour ago

Yale University researchers are studying a potential new treatment that reverses the effects of pulmonary fibrosis, a respiratory disease in which scars develop in the lungs and severely hamper breathing.

Streets bustling after Sierra Leone shutdown ends

7 hours ago

Streets in Sierra Leone's capital bustled again Monday after an unprecedented nationwide shutdown during which officials said more than 1 million households were checked for Ebola patients and given information ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

deatopmg
not rated yet Nov 10, 2008
What about overall mortality?? That is the bottom line.

Was the study designed to come up w/ a headline that the media would report on w/o carefully reading the study (do they ever?)?