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Vitamin E Could Reduce Diabetic Heart Attack and Stroke Deaths


Taking supplemental vitamin E can significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks and related deaths for people with diabetes who carry a particular gene, according to Israeli researchers.

The gene is called haptoglobin (Hp) 2-2. People with this gene have less ability than normal to produce natural antioxidants that protect the iron-rich hemoglobin in their red blood cells from oxidative damage. If they become  diabetic, they are two to three times more likely than other diabetics to have a heart attack or other cardiovascular problems, due to increased oxidative damage. About 40 percent of people with diabetes carry the Hp 2-2 gene.

The study showed that after a year and a half of treatment, people with the Hp 2-2 gene who took 400 IUs of vitamin E daily had more than 50% fewer heart attacks, strokes and related deaths than Hp 2-2 patients who took a placebo. (Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, published online Nov 21, 2007; DOI:10.1161/ATVBAHA.107.153965)

If you’re diabetic, ask your doctor to order this test for you. If you test positive and you want to supplement with vitamin E, make sure to take d-alpha tocopherol, mixed tocopherols, and, ideally, tocotrienols. Walnuts also provide a good mix of vitamin E types, so if you like nuts, they’re your best choice.

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