Supplements in the News

Renowned Researchers, Doctors Challenge Recent Study and Say 'Keep Taking Vitamin E'
Published Monday, November 1, 2004

New Web Site Provides Clarity for Consumers on Vitamin E's Proven Health Benefits

November 18, 2004 - "To E or not to E," a question prompted by a controversial analysis released last week, is addressed by leading researchers and physicians who recommend that Americans keep taking vitamin E supplements in recommended amounts for overall health benefits. These researchers, physicians and health officials have voiced concern and even outrage regarding a "meta-analysis" suggesting that high-dose vitamin E supplements "may increase risk of dying" among older, high-risk patients.

The Dietary Supplement Information Bureau (DSIB) has launched a new Web site - - to help consumers obtain accurate information on vitamin E.  Visitors will find referenced materials to help them understand the analysis generating news headlines and facts on why vitamin E is safe and beneficial.  

DSIB Scientific Advisory Board members were quick to respond to the issues raised in the study:

"This meta-analysis, a study of other studies published during the last 11 years, concludes there may be a very small increase in mortality associated with high dose vitamin E supplements.  However, these results were generated from clinical trials of patients sick with chronic diseases or at very high risk of such conditions and cannot be extrapolated to generally healthy people looking to promote their health and prevent disease.  It is important to appreciate that these researchers examined only 19 clinical trials comprised of 135,000 patients and did not investigate at all dozens of observational studies involving millions of people that show vitamin E supplementation can be beneficial and completely safe," explains Dr. Jeffrey Blumberg, a professor of nutrition at Tufts University.

Dr. Ronald Watson, professor in the College of Public Health and School of Medicine at the University of Arizona, who is currently editing an encyclopedia on vitamin E says, "We have carefully reviewed almost 100 articles about vitamin E, its benefits, activity, etc.  There is almost no evidence of toxicity or adverse effects in doses used by the average American.  In fact multitudinous animal and human studies proclaim it has limited toxicity and significant benefits. The huge amounts of data and studies on vitamin E suggest that it should be considered in supplement programs to promote health, especially in seniors."

When asked if consumers should continue taking vitamin E, Dr. Maret Traber, a vitamin E expert at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University stated, "Absolutely yes."

The Web site provides:

  • Reviews of the meta-analysis describing major flaws in methodology and conclusions presented
  • A vitamin E safety fact sheet from the government's National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements
  • Advice from physicians and researchers indicating that consumers can feel confident in benefiting from the typical supplement of 400 IU of vitamin E each day

Consumers like Sharon Gross, a 57 year-old pre-school director from Chicago, found the new Web site to be useful.  "I've been taking vitamin E supplements for years and was ready to stop when I saw the reports on TV.  But, when I learned that this so-called meta-analysis was done with people who were already very sick to begin with, and that the individual studies still showed health benefits, it restored my faith and I'm still going to take my E each day."

DSIB has readily available to the media a number of scientific experts to answer questions on vitamin E's safety and benefits:

  • David Heber, M.D., Ph.D. - director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition and chief of the division of Clinical Nutrition in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.
  • Jeffrey Blumberg, Ph.D. - professor in the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and the associate director of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston
  • Kenneth Cooper, M.D., M.P.H. - president and founder, The Cooper Aerobics Center and "father of aerobics"
  • Michael Gaziano, M.D., M.P.H. - associate professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
  • Lester Packer, Ph.D. - one of the world's leading researchers on natural antioxidants. Research conducted in his laboratory led to the discovery of the Antioxidant Network.
  • Barbara Levine R.D., Ph.D. - director of the Human Nutrition Program at The Rockefeller University and the director of the Nutrition Information Center at Weill Medical College of Cornell University-New York Presbyterian Hospital and Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. 
  • Maret Trabor, Ph.D. - principal investigator for the Linus Pauling Institute and professor in the College of Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University
  • Ron Watson, Ph.D. - professor of Public Health and Family and Community Medicine at the University of Arizona Medical School

For more information, or to schedule an interview call Deb Knowles at 941-349-9044 or Bree Flammini at 202.326.1763.

The Dietary Supplement Information Bureau (DSIB) was created to provide accurate information about vitamins, minerals, herbs and other supplements for consumers and the professional healthcare community. The DSIB Scientific Advisory Board comprises nationally-recognized physicians and researchers who are experts in dietary supplements. For more information, see the DSIB Web site at

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