Magazine article Vegetarian Times

Vitamin E in the Golden Years

Magazine article Vegetarian Times

Vitamin E in the Golden Years

Article excerpt

WITH APPROXIMATELY 34 million (and counting) Americans over the age of 65, it's increasingly important that we understand how to prevent the diseases associated with advancing age. A recent study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that high amounts of vitamin E could play a major role in keeping the immune system functioning efficiently well into our senior years.

As the body ages, the possibility of the immune system weakening increases, leading to an elevated risk of disease. However, a study directed by Simin Nikbin Meydami, Ph.D., professor of Nutrition and Immunology at Tufts University in Boston, examined the effects of vitamin E supplementation on 89 healthy adults aged 65 and older. Subjects were divided into four groups with members in three of the groups receiving either 60 milligrams (mg.), 200 mg. or 800 mg. of vitamin E daily for a period of four months. The fourth group was given a placebo.

Those receiving the 200 mg. dosages experienced the most benefit. Subjects in this group had a 65 percent increase in delayed-type hypersensitivity response (DTH). That is, when injected with small "triggers" for diseases, such as diphtheria and tuberculosis, their immune system's response was 65 percent stronger than it was without supplementation. Other groups compared less favorably with only a 17 percent increase for the placebo group, 41 percent for the 60 mg. group and 49 percent for the 800 mg. group. Previous research has linked strong DTH responses with fewer health complications and lower mortality rates.

The 200 mg. group also saw a sixfold increase in antibodies to hepatitis B. …

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