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Monday, September 10, 2007

Vitamin E, Women's Health and Myth Making by Experts

Last month I happened to post on a truly specious study reporting that vitamins were of no help to women's hearts. That story is re-posted at the end of this post for easy reference.

You'll see my positive report on vitamin C for cancer below as well. And you'll also see a story from today about how vitamin, slammed in the August report can be most helpful in the prevention of blood clots for women (this works well for men to!).

This is how you get confused, especially if you do to know the history of vitamin E and it's use to prevent are reverse heart disease (the medical studies on this date back to the 1940s and 50s).

Natural vitamin E (listed on a label as d-alpha tocopherol) is very effective in preventing and treating blood clots. It was so good that in the 1970s when I worked as the Critical Care Nursing Manager in a large metropolitan hospital vitamin was given pre-op to prevent blood clots and life-threatening pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs).

Natural vitamin E is, in adequate dose (about 2000 IU daily), a preventive for peripheral neuropathy. This same dose taken the two days prior to chemotherapy treatments helps protect against hair loss, and seems to help you need less chemo drugs. Vitamin E helps carry oxygen across pulmonary membranes inside the lungs(great for pulmonary hypertension and cardiac disease), it is protective against colon cancer and helps reduce menopausal symptoms. This great vitamin in natural form - the old way was wheat germ oil - has so many other beneficial uses for your health.

Sticking to the issue of cardiovascular care for women - often ignored since most research is focused on men - I have to encourage you to quickly avoid the American Heart Association recommendations on this one.

Vitamin E is an essential nutrient for health. It needs to be in a natural form, not from soy as most of it is, and it does a body good!

Vitamin E may reduce blood clots in women: study

Regular doses of vitamin E may reduce the risk of life-threatening blood clots in women, researchers reported on Monday.

But they cautioned that more research is needed to confirm the link in the prevention of the clots, known as venous thromboembolism, and said patients should not stop taking prescribed blood thinners.

"The data indicated that, in general, women taking vitamin E were 21 percent less likely to suffer a blood clot," the American Heart Association, which published the finding in its journal Circulation, said in a statement.

"This is an exciting and interesting finding, but I don't think it's proven," Dr. Robert Glynn of Harvard Medical School said.

The American Heart Association generally does not recommend antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin E for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases or conditions, which include blood clots.

The study by Glynn and his colleagues reviewed data from 39,876 women aged 45 and older taking part in the Women's Health Study. They were given either 600 international units of natural source vitamin E or a placebo.

The women were asked to take them on alternate days over a 10-year period and did not know if they were taking vitamin E or a placebo.

"During the 10-year study, 482 women -- 213 in the vitamin E group and 269 in the placebo group -- reported having a venous thromboembolism that was subsequently confirmed through review of medical records," the heart association said.

"In this study, venous thromboembolism occurred more often than heart attacks and almost as often as stroke. People don't realize how common it is," Glynn said.

Such blood clots can become fatal if the clot blocks the flow of blood to the lungs, heart or brain.

The study results also seemed to indicate that vitamin E was most beneficial to women who were genetically predisposed to get the clots.

A recent update to the American Heart Association's guidelines on cardiovascular disease prevention in women stated that antioxidant vitamin supplements such as vitamin E, C and beta carotene should not be used for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in women.

"A large placebo-controlled, randomized study failed to show any benefit from vitamin E on heart disease," it said, underscoring the need for more research on the subject.

Copyright © 2007 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

Monday, August 13, 2007
Can You Really Believe This?

My regular readers know what I have to say about lying with statistics. I guess you can fool people with hilarious headlines too. And remember the the courts have said it is ok to lie in the media...

This study is off, by well more than a mile, and here's why.

First of all the report gives no information about who provided the funding or the supplements. Remember that Pfizer's junque vitamin Centrum gets to tout all the marvelous benefits of vitamins. Because its Pfizer, a big campaign donor to the current administration, whose lobbyists get to participate in writing new drug legislation a when no one else can, also gets its vitamins paid for in the Senior drug payola to the drug companies program. If it was anyone else or some small company any claim is off limits without raising the ire of the FDA, strongly protecting the drug companies from the other side of the door.

Another important issue not reported in this study is that the amounts provided participants is extremely low in comparison to therapeutic dosing, or in what we refer to as orthomolecular medicine.

What the study failed to do was to provide the basic requirement of vitamin c for an adult. This happens to be 3000 mg a day because humans do not make their own vitamin C as do primates and other animals. This basic amount was determined through primate studies.

Therapeutic doses are substantially higher in many cases. Right now I am taking 12500 mg daily in five divided doses because it is harvest where I live and the dust is causing me to have unhappy lungs. With the vitamin C at this level I have no respiratory issues and this reduces stress on my heart. I too am in the age range of this study's participants. In addition I take non-soy vitamin E, 800 IU daily and a combination vitamin A / Beta Carotene tablet of 25,000 IU a day. Many people, including researchers, may not know that beta-carotene cannot convert to vitamin A alone.

"The women consumed either 500 milligrams of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) every day, 600 international units of vitamin E every other day, or 50 milligrams of beta carotene every other day."

In itself, the above reference to the study informs me that the outcome was to show vitamins do no good for health.

Don't be fooled, see more here from the experts.

And as far as getting enough vitamins in the diet is groundless because of corporate agricultural methods and food processing, all permitted by your government.

CHICAGO (Reuters) 13 August 07
Common vitamins no help for women's hearts: study -
Middle-aged women at risk for heart disease received little benefit from taking vitamins C, E or beta carotene, researchers said on Monday.

Though vitamin supplements provided no heart benefit, eating a diet rich in those vitamins does make for healthier heart, their study noted.

Experts believe a nutritious diet rich in these vitamins protect the body's cardiovascular system by counteracting compounds known as "free radicals." These harmful compounds build up in the body and can damage artery linings, encourage blood clots and alter the function of blood vessels.

"Single antioxidants (vitamins) may not reflect the complex vitamins and nutrients found in foods, which may explain the discrepancies between most intervention trials and studies of fruits and vegetables," wrote study author Nancy Cook of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

"While additional research into combinations of agents, particularly for stroke, may be of interest, widespread use of these individual agents for cardiovascular protection does not appear to be warranted," she concluded.

Among the more than 8,000 women, average age 61, involved in the study only a combination of vitamins C and E conferred a slightly lower risk of stroke compared to placebos.

The participants were tracked for roughly nine years for fatal heart disease, heart attacks, strokes and heart-related surgery, the study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine said. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the industrialized world.

"Do we expect these supplements to reverse 30 years of heart disease? Of course they won't," said Andrew Shao of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a trade group for the industry that produces $20 billion in U.S. states annually.

"But studies show that supplementation with modest amounts of antioxidants over a long period of time, 10 years or more, (produces) modest benefits," he said. "They're subtle, as should be expected when you're talking about nutrients and not pharmaceuticals," or prescription drugs.

Importantly, the study showed taking the supplements did not harm the women, Shao said, as some recent research has suggested based on deaths from all causes.

The women consumed either 500 milligrams of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) every day, 600 international units of vitamin E every other day, or 50 milligrams of beta carotene every other day. Some consumed more than one.

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