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Vitamin E supplements have protective effects in elderly people

Researchers from the National Institute on Aging have found that Vitamin E supplements may reduce the risk of death from all causes and particularly from coronary heart disease.

The study looked at the effects of vitamin C and vitamin E supplements on the risk of death in over 11 000 people aged from 67 to 105 years old who participated in the Established Populations for Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly in the period from 1984 to 1993.

Participants in the study were asked to report their use of all nonprescription drugs used including vitamin supplements and were classed as supplement users if they took individual vitamin E or vitamin C supplements.

The researchers found that vitamin E supplements reduced the risk of total mortality by 27 per cent, of heart disease mortality by 41 per cent and of cancer mortality by 22 per cent. Simultaneous use of vitamin C enhanced these effects.

According to the authors of the study these results are consistent with those for younger people.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 64: 2