For the abstract of the latest vitamin E study, Vitamin E in the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer. The Women's Health Study: A Randomized Controlled Trial, by I-Min Lee, MBBS, ScD; Nancy R. Cook, ScD; J. Michael Gaziano, MD; David Gordon, MA; Paul M Ridker, MD; JoAnn E. Manson, MD, DrPH; Charles H. Hennekens, MD, DrPH; Julie E. Buring, ScD, published in the Journal of the Americal Medical Association (JAMA) 2005; 294: 56-65, please click here

This 10-year study, the longest trial period ever for a study on vitamin E supplements, undertaken on approximately 40,000 healthy women (free of major diseases) over the age of 45 shows:

  1. Vitamins E (alpha-tocopherol only) supplements does not increase death rates in healthy persons

  2. Those women taking the high dose vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol only) supplements did have a significantly lower risk of death and also a much lower risk of heart attack and stroke if they were over the age of 65.

However, although the study included the use of natural vitamin E, the form used was the purified alpha-tocopherol form, rather than the full complex of natural vitamin E which contains 8 forms, alpha-, beta-, delta- and gamma-tocopherol, and alpha-, beta-, delta- and gamma-tocotrienol. For a layperson's view on natural vitamin E, read Dr Andreas Papas' account.

A considerable body of recent research demonstrates the importance particularly of gamma-tocopherol (the most abundant form in foods) and points to substantial intakes of alpha-tocopherol actually reducing the body's absorption of gamma-tocopherol.

Therefore, long-term studies on full spectrum natural vitamin E, including mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols, are much needed and are likely to show even greater beneficial effects.