Vitamin E may help reduce heart attack risk among 40% of diabetics

November 22nd, 2007 - 1:16 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Nov 22 (ANI): Vitamin E supplements can significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks and related deaths for the 40 percent of diabetics who carry a particular version of a gene.

The research was conducted at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and the Clalit Health Services in Israel.

Researchers found that after 18 months of treatment, people with the haptoglobin (Hp) 2-2 gene who took 400 International Units (IU) of vitamin E daily had more than 50 percent fewer heart attacks, strokes, and related deaths than Hp 2-2 patients who took a placebo pill. 40 percent of individuals with diabetes carried the Hp 2-2 gene.

Most of the difference came from the reduced number of heart attacks among those taking vitamin E. In the group of 1,434 Hp 2-2 individuals taking part in the study, seven people had a heart attack, compared to 17 who did not take the vitamin.

Dr. Andrew Levy, of the Technion Faculty of Medicine, also reported that there were no side effects observed in patients who took vitamin E.

Levy said the findings therefore suggested that genetic testing for the Hp 2-2 gene may be useful to identify a large group of diabetes individuals who could potentially derive cardiovascular benefit from a very inexpensive treatment.

The research team suspected that there might be one group of patients who could benefit from vitamin E: diabetic individuals with a particular variant of the haptoglobin gene.

Haptoglobin is a powerful antioxidant protein that stabilizes the iron-rich red blood cell molecule called hemoglobin, preventing inflammation in the walls of arteries.

There are several versions of the haptoglobin gene. In previous studies, the research team showed that Hp 2-2 is an inferior antioxidant compared to its genetic siblings, and that this difference is exaggerated in patients with diabetes. The researchers also discovered that diabetic patients with Hp 2-2 are two-to-three times more likely than other diabetics to suffer a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack.

This version of the gene does not determine whether or not an individual will develop diabetes but rather whether an individual with diabetes is susceptible to developing the devastating complications associated with diabetes such as heart disease, kidney disease or visual loss, Levy said.
The researchers presented the results on November 5 at the American Heart Meetings in Orlando, Florida and their study appeared in the November 21 online edition of the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. (ANI)

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