advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Should Women Give Up Vitamin E?
I read that a big, new study just found that taking vitamin E and low-dose aspirin don't protect women from cancer or heart disease. Your thoughts?
A
Answer (Published 8/9/2005)

The study you're referring to is part of the Women's Health Study (WHS) conducted between September 1992 and March 2004. It included 39,876 women and was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to evaluate the benefits and risks of taking 100 mg of aspirin every other day and 600 IU of vitamin E (as alpha tocopherol) every other day. Approximately half of the women took the aspirin/vitamin E combination and half took a placebo.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Supplements & Herbs - If you are interested in supplementing your diet, and want to take the mystery out of choosing vitamins, try Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor. Visit today for your free, personalized Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor Recommendation.

Results showed that taking the aspirin had no observed effect on the women's risk of all types of cancer - including breast and colon cancer - with the exception of lung cancer. The study found a 22 percent reduced risk of lung cancer among the women taking the aspirin/vitamin E combination. Over the years, a number of observational studies have suggested that taking aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) reduced the risk of various types of cancer by 20 to 50 percent. However, another randomized control trial, the Physician's Health Study, found no reduced risk of colon cancer among participants who took 325 mg of aspirin every other day for five years. And a large study from California published in the June 1, 2005 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found no protection from breast cancer among women who regularly took aspirin or ibuprofen, a NSAID.

As far as vitamin E is concerned, the WHS was looking for a protective effect against cancers of all types and against cardiovascular disease. The study did find a 24 percent reduction in cardiovascular deaths among women in the vitamin E group. Earlier observational studies have suggested that vitamin E reduces the risk of heart disease and that its antioxidant activity lowers cancer rates. Apart from the reduction in heart disease deaths, this study showed no such benefits. The results were published in the July 6, 2005 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

I still recommend taking 400 IU of vitamin E in the form of mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols for general antioxidant and health-protective effects. I would like to see more research assessing the health benefits of the whole, natural vitamin E-complex. As for low-dose aspirin, it offers many benefits, especially in lowering risk of heart attacks. I continue to take both of these myself.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here