Vitamin E: Making the Grade?
Scattered Vitamins
That daily vitamin E you pop may not pass the heart-healthy test after all, suggest Canadian scientists, who gave the vitamin an "F" grade in warding off heart attack, stroke or related death. Researchers studied nearly 10,000 men and women over age 55 with existing cardiovascular risk factors. After subjects took either 400 IU of natural-source vitamin E or placebo for 4.5 years, both groups remained equally at risk (New England Journal of Medicine, 2000, vol. 342).

Of course, admit the experts, vitamin E wasn't harmful per se, and its possible benefits may kick in when combined with other antioxidants, such as selenium. Moreover, the study only looked at people with existing heart disease, so vitamin E's merit may lie in prevention rather than reversal. Because numerous other studies contradict these findings, more trials are planned.

— Angela Pirisi

Photography by: Jeff Padrick