For years, researchers have suspected that vitamin E might protect against serious heart disease, but they lacked proof - until now.
A British study, reported on Monday in Orlando, Fla., showed that daily megadoses of vitamin E - just a few cents worth a day - reduced the risk of heart attack in people with a history of cardiovascular disease.
Speaking on Monday at the 45th Annual Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology, British researchers said the vitamin reduced heart attacks by as much as 75 percent.
Their presentation came on the heels of their scientific paper, which was published Saturday in the British medical journal The Lancet.
Still, the British scientists backed away from recommending mega-doses of vitamin E for healthy people.
“If people have heart disease due to angina, then they should take 800 units of vitamin E,” said Dr. Nigel G. Stephens of Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, the study’s lead investigator.
Stephens added, “but they should do that only under the advice of their doctors.”
The vitamin worked wonders for patients in the clinical trial, Stephens said, but he emphasized that “a clinical trial is not real life.”