Study shows vitamin E could limit or prevent stroke damage
As is the case with so many vitamins, minerals, and prescription drugs, vitamin E supplementation has gone through times where it’s been heralded as a miracle later to be berated as a risk. A new study has once again brought vitamin E to the forefront as a possible preventative step for people at risk for strokes. These study authors put vitamin E right up there with the daily low-dose aspirin that many, if not most, doctors prescribe for middle aged men and post-menopausal women.
The Ohio State University study was led by Chandan Sen, professor and vice chair for research in Ohio State’s Department of Surgery. An article on newswise.com states, “Sen and colleagues have spent the past 10 years documenting in cell cultures and rodents how this form of vitamin E (tocotrienol, also known as TCT, is a form of vitamin E less widely used than tocopherol) protects brain cells from dying after the insult of a stroke. They say that the results of this large-animal (dog) study offer the last piece of evidence needed to validate testing the nutritional supplement’s protection against stroke in humans. A phase II trial of its effectiveness in humans is in the planning stages.”
Sen, who is also a deputy director of Ohio State’s Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute, said, “Preventive use of TCT, a natural vitamin, is safe and should be embraced as a preventive therapy along with aspirin, a commonly prescribed medicine to prevent a stroke.”
Vitamin E as an antioxidant
Though I am a non-medical person and not a scientist in any form, I’ve always been interested in nutrition. Blame my mother for that. I grew up in a family where we had a “One-a -Day” vitamin pill by our breakfast orange juice, back when that was the only supplement readily available to the general public. When I was first pregnant, I became an avid student of natural foods. I was only too aware that while my brain was well educated in basic nutrition, my everyday habits were not following through. I wanted to change that for the sake of my developing baby.
Adelle Davis, controversial and opinionated adversary of the modern diet even in the 1960s, rose to fame in the late 1970s, and I read every book she wrote. She was a regular on television and followed by millions, though many medical people thought her missionary zeal for natural foods and supplements was not supported by science. Some felt her ideas dangerous.
I never could have followed the formidable Ms. Davis’ eating advice to the letter, but in my “take what I want and leave the rest” attitude, I found her inspiring. Many of her ideas, such as free-radicals harming the body and the harmful aspects of stick margarine, have now been proven to be correct.
Davis educated me on the fragility of vitamin E in our diets, and I became a fan of this antioxidant supplement. Since then, many more antioxidants have been discovered, with many becoming the “darling” of the moment, only to fade into obscurity when new studies prove some other nutrient is the end all/be all as far as our health is concerned.
Over the years, I let my vitamin E supplements slide in favor of some other forms of nutritional supplements, especially when some studies showed the nutrient to be potentially harmful to smokers with lung cancer (I’ve never been a smoker). However, these studies gave rise to a backlash of sorts for vitamin E, in general.
Moderation in all things
I was never extreme about my pro-vitamin E stance, and never fully accepted the vilification stemming from a few studies.
Now, backed up by new studies being conducted on many natural nutrients, and a more open minded scientific community in general when it comes to supplementation, I will watch Sen’s study with interest.
People should always check with their doctor before using any supplements or OTC drugs, as many health conditions may be affected negatively by their use, or interactions with prescribed medications can occur.
We’ll watch this vitamin E study and see where it takes us. I hope these researchers are onto something solid here. Vitamins and minerals can’t be patented, therefore they are not likely to become unaffordable for those who need them. That’s good news for all of us, if these study results prove out for humans.