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Vitamin E May Not Affect Stroke Risk

A recent meta-analysis by researchers at the Harvard Medical School shows that while vitamin E may provide numerous health benefits, it may have very little effect on stroke risk. The study was published in the November 2010 issue of the British Medical Journal.

For the study the researchers analyzed data obtained from 9 studies with over 115,000 combined participants.

The data from these studies showed that alpha-tocopherol vitamin E decreased the risk of ischemic stroke by 10%. However, it also appeared to increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke by 22%. When the researchers combined the decrease in ischemic stroke with the increase in hemorrhagic stroke they found almost no association between vitamin E intake and overall stroke risk.

The researchers did note however that the benefits of consuming vitamin E still outweighed the risk. They estimate that for every 1,000 patients who took vitamin E supplementation, there would be 0.8more hemorrhagic strokes and 2.1 fewer ischemic strokes.

Hemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel bursts inside the brain, leading to bleeding inside the brain which damages nearby brain tissue. In an ischemic stroke, blood supply to the brain is decreased, resulting in dysfunction in the brain tissue in that area.

Although more evidence still needs to be obtained, these findings show that consuming an overabundance of vitamin E may have potentially negative consequences.

It is important to note, however, that most Americans don't receive the bare minimum daily recommendation for vitamin E, which is an essential nutrient for many reasons.

Vitamin E plays an important role in various functions in the body and has also been linked to reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s and certain cancers and boosting the immune system. These benefits are largely attributed to the anti inflammatory properties of vitamin E combined with its high level of antioxidants.

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