How Much Is Too Much Vitamin E?
Massey, Patrick B., Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Patrick B. Massey, M.D.
Many of my patients ask: "What's the deal with vitamin E? Is it safe? Can I take it?" The answer to each question is yes, but with some reservations.
Several months ago, a researcher presented data at an American Heart Association national meeting suggesting that daily vitamin E consumption may be linked to increased risk of death. This discovery was widely publicized and has caused some concern among those taking vitamin E.
First of all, the research presented at the American Heart Association was not a clinical study. It was a meta-analysis, which means that data from many studies are combined. Although this type of analysis can be very revealing, there are methodological problems that can affect interpretation of the data.
The overwhelming majority of vitamin E studies have not demonstrated any toxicity. Indeed, an increasing number of studies suggest that vitamin E is necessary to protect the heart, brain and other organs from damage.
Does that mean that this meta-analysis is wrong? No, I believe that the results are accurate, but that only part of the story has been revealed.
All medications and supplements have a sub-optimal dose, an optimal dose and a toxic dose. Just because it is "natural" does not mean that it cannot be toxic - you can die from too much oxygen.
In the meta-analysis study, an increased risk of death was found at only the higher doses of vitamin E - greater than 800 IU a day - over time. …