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Heart disease and vitamin E

  • Definition

    Alternative Names

    Vitamin E and heart disease; Tocopherol and heart disease


    Antioxidants such as vitamin E (also called tocopherol) protect cells in the body from oxidation. Oxidation is a process that leads to cell damage. It may play an important role in atherosclerosis -- the development of plaque in blood vessels that can cause heart disease and stroke.

    Eating foods rich in antioxidants (like vitamin E and vitamin C, carotenoids, and selenium) may lower your risk of heart disease. Such foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. According to studies, however, taking extra anti-oxidant pills is probably NOT beneficial.

    The current recommendation by the American Heart Association is to make sure you include these important nutrients in your diet, but not to take supplements. Because foods rich in vitamin E and selenium are high in fat, you may want to work with a dietitian to find the best food sources for you.