Vitamin E ‘could increase stroke risk’

November 5th, 2010 - 11:18 am ICT by ANI  

London, Nov 05 (ANI): A new study has revealed that taking vitamin E could slightly increase the risk of a particular type of stroke.

An international team of researchers has found that for every 1,250 people there is the chance of one extra haemorrhagic stroke - bleeding in the brain.

Researchers from France, Germany and the US studied nine previous trials and nearly 119,000 people.

But the level at which vitamin E becomes harmful is still unknown, experts say.

The study was carried out at Harvard Medical School, Boston, and INSERM in Paris.

Researchers found that vitamin E increased the risk of this kind of stroke by 22 percent.

The study also found that vitamin E could actually cut the risk of ischaemic strokes - the most common type of stroke - by 10 percent.

Ischaemic strokes account for 70 percent of all cases and happen when a blood clot prevents blood reaching the brain.

Experts found vitamin E could cut the risk, equivalent to one ischaemic stroke prevented per 476 people taking the vitamin.

However, they warned that keeping to a healthy lifestyle and maintaining low blood pressure and low cholesterol have a far bigger effect on cutting the risk of ischaemic stroke than taking vitamin E.

While none of the trials suggested that taking vitamin E increased the risk for total stroke, the differences were notable for the two individual types of strokes.

The authors concluded: “Given the relatively small risk reduction of ischaemic stroke and the generally more severe outcome of haemorrhagic stroke, indiscriminate widespread use of vitamin E should be cautioned against.”

Previous studies have suggested that taking vitamin E can protect the heart from coronary heart disease, but some have also found that the vitamin could increase the risk of death if taken in high doses.

“This is a very interesting study that shows that the risk of haemorrhagic stroke can be slightly increased by high levels of orally taken Vitamin E, although what is a high level has not clearly been ascertained,” the BBC quoted Peter Coleman, of the Stroke Association, as saying.

“More research is required to discover the mechanism of action and the level at which Vitamin E can become harmful.

“We urge people to maintain a lifestyle of a balanced diet, regular exercise and monitoring their blood pressure to reduce their risk of a stroke but would be very interested in seeing further research into this study,” he added.

The study appears in the British Medical Journal. (ANI)

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