Q. One day, I hear that taking vitamin E is heart-healthy; the next, I hear it's not. Should I stop taking it?

A. Yes, especially if you are taking a statin. Vitamin E clearly has no benefits vis-à-vis heart disease and may be detrimental. One study found that heart patients taking vitamin E had more strokes. Another study (conducted at the University of Washington) found that vitamin E blocked statins’ ability to raise “good” HDL cholesterol. My general feeling about supplements is only to take something if it is proven to be of benefit. There are scores of stories of things that "ought to work" theoretically, but are later shown to be detrimental. Vitamin E is one such story. To say it can’t hurt is naive. It can hurt. Everyone thought that it couldn’t hurt to give women the hormones they had when they were younger. Well, turns out hormone replacement therapy increases heart disease, stroke and breast cancer rates.


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