Vitamin E Won't Cut Heart Failure Risk

Heart failure risk unchanged by vitamin E supplements in women

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Supplements can offer benefits to patients and, at times, even stave off certain medical conditions. While vitamin E supplements can be beneficial, they do not appear to lower the risk of heart failure in women.

Though investigators found that vitamin E has no impact on heart failure, they did notice a 41 percent decrease in the risk of developing a type of heart failure in which the heart still has normal pumping function (heart failure with normal left ventricular ejection fraction; HFNEF). That finding was considered only an observation, and a potential topic for future research.

"Quit smoking to lower your heart failure risk."

Dr. Claudia U. Chae, lead researcher in the cardiology division at Massachusetts General Hospital, noted that the potential vitamin E benefit for a specific type of heart failure still requires confirmation in a larger population.

The trial marked the first large clinical study to examine the possible role of antioxidant therapy in reducing the risk of heart failure. Experimental data had previously indicated such therapy may be beneficial.

During the randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial researchers followed 39,815 healthy women over the age of 45 from the Women’s Health Study. The participants were randomly assigned to take 600 International Units of vitamin E every other day, 100 milligrams of aspirin every other day, both agents or a placebo. They were followed for a median of 10.2 years.

Investigators found there were 220 heart failure incidents during the study period. After adjusting for age and other factors, they found that there was no association between vitamin E and heart failure.

Researchers suggest that heart failure prevention strategies should instead focus on proven methods for reducing the risk of heart failure, such as controlling blood pressure and preventing heart disease.

The study was recently published in Circulation: Heart Failure, an American Heart Association journal.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
March 20, 2012
Last Updated:
March 20, 2012