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Vitamin E

We like to live long, healthy lives (well, most of us).  To that end, people around the world ingest dietary supplements based on vitamin tablets both synthetic and natural.  Vitamins are vital to certain life processes within your body.  You usually get vitamins through the foods you eat (mainly nuts, fruits, and vegetables).  Many act as ’keys’ that unlock certain catalyzed processes.

For many years, the rule of thumb was that you couldn’t do too much harm if you took daily vitamin supplements.  Few people ever approached even half of the advised daily maximum limit.  Recent studies over the last two decades have shed some light on one potential problem related to high doses of Vitamin E.

In the most recent report from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, a study found that those who took half of the daily maximum dose had a higher risk of death.  Researchers concluded that the safest way to receive vitamin E was through a healthy diet with nuts and vegetables.

Despite the claims, several critics have piped up about the bias they feel is evident in the findings.  For one thing, there are a high proportion of elderly folk in the study. This means that their sample is skewed towards people who are closer to death anyway compared to, lets say, a healthy 25 year-old adult.  How this study extends to that particular age group is unclear.

Further arguments include the failure of the study to properly differentiate between synthetic Vitamin E supplements and natural Vitamin E supplements.

So what’s the best thing to do right now?  Despite the fact that the newest study has some statistical flaws in it, you should consider lowering your doses of vitamin E or completely remove them as supplements.  Since it’s known that they can harm some people at high doses, it makes no sense to pursue them as supplements right now until further studies can elucidate the matter.

Many vitamin E-rich foods include nuts, green leafy vegetables, and vegetable oils.  Purported benefits of Vitamin E are mainly centered on anti-oxidant related activity that prevents deterioration of your body’s cells from free radicals.

There are many other sources of anti-oxidants aside from Vitamin E, so consider switching off supplements and moving on to Green Tea, for instance.  Despite the popularity of vitamins and other herbal medicines, the best way to live a long, healthy life is still through regular exercise and a healthy diet.