Vitamin E and measures of cardiovascular function

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Despite the mixed results when the outcome measures are myocardial infarction or stroke, there is considerable evidence that vitamin E has a positive effect on other measures of cardiovascular function. For example, a study by Skyrme-Jones et al. (2000) found that 1000 IU of vitamin E (all-racemic alpha-tocopherol) for 3 months improved endothelial function and blood flow in patients with type I diabetes and reduced the oxidative susceptibility of LDL. This study had an excellent study design, i.e. double-blind, placebo-controlled, and randomized. The relationship of oxidative stress to diabetes and the potential use of antioxidants is an area of intensive research (Laight et al., 2000). Owing to an epidemic of childhood obesity, the incidence of type II diabetes is expected to dramatically increase in the near future.

Paolisso et al. (2000) found that vitamin E therapy (8 weeks, chemical form not identified) was effective in improving brachial artery reactivity. Brachial artery reactivity measures the change in brachial artery diameter after release of an occluding cuff and is a measure of endothelial function. It is thought to be a useful marker for atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease.

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