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Vitamin E may cut heart attack risk for diabetics

22/11/2004 - About 40 per cent of diabetic patients can reduce their risk of heart attacks and of dying from heart disease by taking vitamin E supplements, according to new research out of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

The study, published in the November issue of Diabetes Care (27: 2767), follows on the heels of a much mediatised meta-analysis released two weeks ago, which linked high dose vitamin E supplements to a higher overall risk of death.

Like this review, the new study also measured the effects of high dose (400IU) of vitamin E.

Its timely release could help supplement marketers reduce the negative impact of the earlier trial, even though marketing supplements to diabetes patients still presents significant challenge to the industry.

The research team, led by Dr Andrew Levy of the Faculty of Medicine, had earlier demonstrated that diabetics with a particular form of a blood protein called haptoglobin had as much as a 500 per cent increased risk of developing heart disease.

The new study shows that when these at-risk patients, who have the 2-2 form of haptoglobin, took 400 international units of vitamin E daily, they reduced their risk of heart attack by 43 per cent, and their risk of dying of heart disease by 55 per cent.

About 40 per cent of diabetics have the 2-2 form of haptoglobin, according to the Israel-based researchers, while the rest have the 1 -1 or 2-1 forms. When the others took the same vitamin E supplements, they did not show any significant reduction of cardiovascular risk resulting from vitamin E therapy.

The emerging science on vitamin E has been causing peaks and troughs in demand for a number of years. Manufacturers of the vitamin at last week


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