Overdosing on Vitamin E ñ An American Phenomenon with Potentially Fatal Consequences

The July 19 issue of the Annuals of Internal Medicine reports that many Americans regularly consume a potentially harmful level of Vitamin E.

The authors say that taking 400 IU or more of Vitamin E per day increases the risk of premature death. Currently, more than 10% of Americans take dangerous amounts of the vitamin.

The conclusions are based on a study of 4609 adults in a 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The median daily intake of vitamin E was 8.8 IU but 11.3% took at least 400 IU. Increased intake increased with age and was higher among whites (14.1%) than blacks (3.1%).

While the authors encourage doctors to warn their patients against taking too much Vitamin E, a recent survey concluded that more than half (64%) of medical professionals, themselves, took at least 400 IU a day. Thus, even doctors appear to be ignorant of the potentially serious consequences associated with high doses of the vitamin.

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