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Vitamin E and coagulation

Some have asked if vitamin E increases bleeding time. Here's one study done at Tufts University which proves that vitamin E in low dosages have no effect on bleeding time, or any negative effects at all for that matter.

Am J Clin Nutr 1998 Aug;68(2):311-8:

Assessment of the safety of supplementation with different amounts of vitamin E in healthy older adults.

Meydani SN, Meydani M, Blumberg JB, Leka LS, Pedrosa M, Diamond R, Schaefer EJ Jean Mayer US Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA.

"We showed previously that supplementation for 30 d with 800 IU (727 mg) vitamin E/d did not adversely affect healthy elderly persons. We have now assessed the effects of 4 mo of supplementation with 60, 200, or 800 IU (55, 182, or 727 mg) all-rac-alpha-tocopherol/d on general health, nutrient status, liver enzyme function, thyroid hormone concentrations, creatinine concentrations, serum autoantibodies, killing of Candida albicans by neutrophils, and bleeding time in 88 healthy subjects aged >65 y participating in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. No side effects were reported by the subjects.

Vitamin E supplementation had no effect on body weight, plasma total proteins, albumin, glucose, plasma lipids or the lipoprotein profile, total bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, serum aspartate aminotransferase, serum alanine aminotransferase, lactate dehydrogenase, serum urea nitrogen, total red blood cells, white blood cells or white blood cell differential counts, platelet number, bleeding time, hemoglobin, hematocrit, thyroid hormones, or urinary or serum creatinine concentrations. Values from all supplemented groups were within normal ranges for older adults and were not significantly different from values in the placebo group.

Vitamin E supplementation had no significant effects on plasma concentrations of other antioxidant vitamins and minerals, glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase, or total homocysteine. There was no significant effect of vitamin E on serum nonspecific immunoglobulin concentrations or anti-DNA and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies. The cytotoxic ability of neutrophils against Candida albicans was not compromised.

Thus, 4 mo of supplementation with 60-800 IU vitamin E/d had no adverse effects. These results are relevant for determining risk-to-benefit ratios for vitamin E supplementation."

In a recent analysis of studies on Vitamin E published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, an assumption was made that high dose supplementation with Vitamin E was harmful. Julian Whitaker, M.D., author of one of the most widely read health newsletters, Health and Healing, issued this response to that study:

"Subject: Vitamin E IS Safe!"

"November 12, 2004: You may have read the ridiculous headlines from the last day or so stating that vitamin E supplementation does more harm than good. A meta-analysis published online in the Annals of Internal Medicine reviewed the results of 19 clinical trials on vitamin E.

Researchers reported that taking high doses of vitamin E (greater than 400 IU per day) increased risk of all-cause mortality and concluded that high dose vitamin E supplements should be avoided.

Now, let's take a look at what you didn't read and why this recommendation is absurd.

First, the participants in this review of studies were already suffering from a wide range of medical conditions from heart disease and cancer to kidney disease and Alzheimer's. As the researches themselves admitted, it's impossible to ascertain if results would be the same in a healthy population.

Second, the statistical analysis is suspect. Only nine of the 19 studies focused solely on vitamin E, while 10 looked at vitamin E combined with other vitamins and minerals. Thus, any outcome can hardly be conclusive.

Therefore, headlines screaming "Vitamin E may raise death rates" or "Vitamin E might make heart disease worse" are irresponsible, unfounded, and an unnecessary scare tactic.

The benefits of vitamin E supplementation are well documented. I emphatically believe that not only is the use of vitamin E safe, but highly therapeutic. Thousands of studies support vitamin E's role in cardiovascular health, immune function, and a number of other conditions.

The Institute of Medicine and the federal government agree that vitamin E is safe at levels as high as 1600 IU per day for natural vitamin E (the form I recommend you use) or 1000 IU of synthetic vitamin E, the form most likely used in this study. According to the Council for Responsible Nutrition, "This meta-analysis provides no convincing evidence to the contrary."

The publicity surrounding this story simply confirms the mainstream media's inherent bias against nutritional supplements.

For the complete text of the Annals of Internal Medicine study, go to

Sincerely, Julian Whitaker, M.D."

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