Vitamin E Protects Against Heart Disease

Thank you for your telephone calls about the two Harvard studies presented
to the American Heart Association’s annual scientific session in New Orleans
yesterday. Yes, I am very happy that the data confirms my study conducted
in 1974 and published in 1976. I smile a lot these days thanks to the recent
confirmations of my research on cancer prevention, cholesterol irrelevance,
and the trans-fats in margarine making it inferior to butter.

Forgive me for the “form letter” response, but I can’t find the
time to get back to each of you with a personal letter. Here are the major
points of all three vitamin E studies.

    1. All three studies found that vitamin E supplements (the amount
    of vitamin E in the diet is not sufficient to produce a significant protective
    effect) dramatically and significantly reduce the incidence of heart disease.

    2. The protective effect of vitamin E supplements is greater than obtained
    by reducing dietary cholesterol, dietary fat, blood cholesterol, and other
    currently popular approaches.

    3. That length of time of supplementation is critical, and that at least
    two years of supplementation is required before substantial benefit can
    be measured.


Stampfer’s group at Harvard found that women who took more than 100 IU
of vitamin E daily for more than two years had a 46% lower risk of
heart disease. [2]

Rimm’s group at Harvard found that men who used took more than 100 IU
of vitamin E daily (time period not specified) had a 37% lower risk
of heart disease. [3]

My study showed that those who took even more vitamin E over longer time
produced even greater results. The amount of heart disease in any age group
decreased proportionably with the length of time that vitamin E had been
taken. In fact, the length of time was more important than dosage after
a minimum of 400 IU daily was taken.

In all instances where persons consumed 400 IU or more daily of vitamin
E for more than ten years , their rate of heart disease was significantly
lower than normal (3 per hundred, compared to 32 per hundred). Those who
took 1,200 IU or more of vitamin E daily for four or more years reduced
the incidence of heart disease from 32 per hundred to 10 per hundred persons.

The participants in this study were more likely to also consume significant
amounts of other antioxidant nutrients which would enhance the synergistic

Study Details

Passwater 1 Stampfer 2 Rimm 3

Number of persons 17,894 87,245 51,529

Sex M & F F M

Ages 50-90

Subject group Prev. readers Nurses Health Pros

Study period retrospective 8 years 5 years

Yr. study begun 1974 1984 1987

Yr. study presented 1976 1992 1992

Corrected for Age & Sex

Possible bias self selection participation particip.

Dr. Meir Stampfer will be sending me more details of the Harvard studies,
and I will send them on to you when they become available. In the meantime,
the New York Times article may be of help. By the way, I have also enclosed
the newspaper reports of my 1974 study.


1. Passwater, Richard A.; Heart Disease and Vitamin E Study. Prevention
28(1):63-71 (Jan 1976). Also see, Passwater, Richard A.; Supernutrition
For Healthy Hearts. Dial Press, NY (1977) and Passwater, Richard A.; The
New Supernutrition. Pocket Books, NY (1991)

2. Stampfer, Meir; Willett, Walter; et al; Vitamin E and Heart Disease Incidence
in the Nurses Health Study. Amer. Heart Assoc. Ann. Mtg., New Orleans (Nov
18, 1992)

3. Rimm, Eric; et al; Vitamin E and Heart Disease Incidence in the Health
Professionals Study. Amer. Heart Assoc. Ann. Mtg., New Orleans (Nov 18,

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Written by Richard A. Passwater PhD

Explore Wellness in 2021