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A special report issued by Cornell University's Weill Medical College stated that more cardiologists supplement with vitamin E to protect their hearts than any other "common antioxidant vitamin."

The report also stated that more cardiologists take antioxidant supplements than aspirin to help prevent heart attacks. The Cornell publication cited a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology in which of the 181 doctors surveyed, 44 percent take vitamin E, vitamin C or beta-carotene (alone or in combination) while 42 percent take aspirin. About 28 percent take both antioxidants and aspirin. The study disclosed that vitamin E was most often taken at a daily dose of 400 IU.

The Cornell report, published by the Medical College's Center for Women's Healthcare, said that "the most well-documented benefit of vitamin E is cardiovascular protection. As an antioxidant, it protects LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) from oxidation, which is the first step in a chain of reactions leading to the buildup of plaque on artery walls.

Although LDL cholesterol is bad enough on its own, it is even more likely to clog arteries if it becomes oxidized by free radicals." The Cornell report also noted an eight-year study of almost 90,000 healthy women, the Nurses' Health Study, that found those with the highest vitamin E intake had a 40 percent lower risk of heart disease than those with the lowest intake.

Other studies have demonstrated similar findings. The Cambridge Heart Antioxidant Study found that daily supplements of 400 or 800 international units of vitamin E reduced heart attack risk by 50 percent among more than 2,000 patients with cardiovascular disease.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that among more than 11,000 elderly people, those who took vitamin E had a lower risk of dying from heart disease, or from any cause, than those who didn't supplement with it.

SOURCE : Foods for the Future

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