Supplements to be wary of

May 4, 2005 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

Supplements to be wary of

Vitamin E: It seems this antioxidant is getting more bad news. Last year an analysis of previous studies suggested that non-healthy patients taking 400 IU/day or more have an increased risk of dying from all causes. Now a new (March 2005) large-scale prospective study found that people with diabetes or cardiovascular disease who took 400 IU/day or more had an increased risk of heart failure and heart failure-related hospitalizations.

Researchers speculate that high doses of vitamin E might disrupt the normal antioxidant balance in the body. This could lead to damaging oxidative effects instead of the desired antioxidant effect. This isn't the final word on vitamin E. Some proponents suggest that the form of vitamin E might affect results. But for now, it makes sense that people with diabetes or heart disease avoid taking vitamin E in doses of 400 IU/day or higher. Vitamin E supplements (400 IU/day) are considered safe for healthy people.

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a popular weight loss supplement. But new research is showing that it might not be safe for obese people. Some evidence suggests that obese people who take CLA have decreased body fat and increased muscle mass. But one isomer of CLA known as "trans-10, cis-12" might also increase insulin resistance in people with abdominal obesity. Theoretically, this could increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. So far there are no data showing the effect of CLA on long-term outcomes. Until more is known obese people should think twice about using CLA.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.