Vitamin E Helps - but Don't Overdose
A host of pollutants and biological processes unleash free radicals. Indeed, the body generates these reactive agents to destroy unwanted cells and materials. With age, natural systems for protecting healthy cells from bombardment by these deleterious agents become impaired. The resulting growth in exposure to free radicals has been linked to a host of chronic degenerative diseases, including heart disease.
One way to fight the oxidative damage caused by free radicals-from smoking, aging, or other factors-is to arm the body with an ample supply of antioxidants, such as vitamin E.
How much might one need? To find out, nutritional biochemist Katrina M. Brown and her colleagues at the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen, Scotland, randomly assigned 40 male smokers and an equal number of nonsmokers to take capsules containing 70, 140, 560, or 1,050 milligrams of vitamin E daily. After 20 weeks, the researchers sampled red blood cells from each man and incubated them for 1 hour with hydrogen peroxide, one of the body's natural free radicals. …