Linus Pauling Institute Spring/Summer 1999 Newsletter, Oregon State University logo
Is Supplemental
Vitamin E Harmful?
    Dr. Lori Mosca of the University of Michigan recently presented results of her study that purportedly demonstrated that supplemental alpha-tocopherol increased oxidation levels in female volunteers. She surmised that the alpha-tocopherol displaced gamma-tocopherol, which may be the form of vitamin E that is protective against oxidation.
    Dr. Maret Traber of LPI points out that the body has a mechanism to maintain levels alpha-tocopherol, which is the form of vitamin E recognized by unique transport proteins. Therefore, alpha-tocopherol does not displace gamma-tocopherol, but is preferred by the body.
    Dr. Mosca's work was presented only in abstract form, not as a peer-reviewed paper, so further comment on its methodology and results will have to await publication of the study in all its details. The accumulated experimental and clinical evidence, however, supports an antioxidant, not pro-oxidant, role for alpha-tocopherol.
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Last updated May, 1999