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An Editorial Update: Annus horribilis for Vitamin E

Eliseo Guallar, MD, DrPH; Daniel F. Hanley, MD; and Edgar R. Miller III, MD, PhD
[+] Article and Author Information

From Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD 21205.


Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.

Requests for Single Reprints: Eliseo Guallar, MD, DrPH, Department of Epidemiology, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2024 East Monument Street, Room 2-639, Baltimore, MD 21205; e-mail, eguallar@jhsph.edu.

Current Author Addresses: Dr. Guallar, Department of Epidemiology, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2024 E. Monument St., Room 2-639, Baltimore, MD 21205.

Dr. Hanley: Brain Injury Outcomes Division, Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Jefferson 1-109, 600 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205.

Dr. Miller: Department of Epidemiology and Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, 2024 E. Monument St., Room 2-624, Baltimore, MD 21205.


Ann Intern Med. 2005;143(2):143-145. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-143-2-200507190-00014
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In January 2005, we published a dose–response meta-analysis showing that high-dosage (≥400 IU/d) vitamin E supplementation was associated with a small but statistically significant increased risk for mortality (relative risk, 1.04 [95% CI, 1.01 to 1.07]) (1). The precise dosage of vitamin E at which the relative risk for mortality exceeded 1 and the magnitude of the risk increase were uncertain. However, the analysis showed that high-dosage vitamin E supplementation was likely to be harmful. Even in the best case, it offered no benefit in prolonging life. These findings were highly controversial: Together with our response, this issue of Annals includes 11 of more than 40 electronic rapid responses to the Annals Web site. Rather than summarizing this exchange of views, this editorial reports further developments in the vitamin E story.

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