Vitamin E Joins the Debate

By Ygal Kaufman

Vitamin ERecent findings in a widely publicized study held that vitamin supplements have little to no effect for most (a gross oversimplification, but we’re short on word count here…) and that people generally get their vitamin needs fulfilled by just eating stuff. Then some researchers at OSU responded with their own study that refuted it and held certain vitamin supplements are still very useful and should not be written off.

This debate is not going away anytime soon, but now the OSU researchers may be seeing some vindication for their contentions. A new study supported by the NIH and conducted at the Linus Pauling Institute (LPI) says the young, the elderly, and pregnant women are in very real danger of vitamin E deficiency.

Dr. Maret Traber of LPI commented in a press release on the misconception that vitamin E deficiency is not possible, saying, “It happens with an alarming frequency both in the United States and around the world. But some of the results of inadequate intake are less obvious, such as its impact on the nervous system and brain development, or general resistance to infection.”

This also flies in the face of the recent and widely held belief that vitamin E supplements not only didn’t help, but could actually be bad for you.

Among other findings in the study for the young were that vitamin E deficiency can cause stunted growth and neurological disorders. For the elderly, decreased levels were associated with increased risk of dementia; vitamin E could even help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.

The vitamin supplement debate will no doubt continue, and OSU and LPI will remain at the center. For those looking to hedge their bets, nuts, seeds, and spinach are a great source of vitamin E. Stay tuned for more breaking research on the topic.

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