Vitamin E doesn't reduce risk of cataracts

May 15, 2008 in Nutrition for Older Adults, Nutrition Topics in the News, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

Vitamin E doesn't reduce risk of cataracts

Taking a daily vitamin E supplement doesn't prevent age-related cataracts, according to a new study from Harvard Medical School.

In this study, 39,876 healthy women over the age of 45 received either 600 IU of vitamin E each day or a placebo.

After almost a decade, women who took vitamin E supplements saw no effect on age-related cataracts.

Cataracts, a natural part of aging, are most common in people over 65 years old.  Most cataracts are caused when proteins within the lens of the eye become damaged and clump together, producing the characteristic clouding of vision. It's thought these changes are caused by free radicals, unstable oxygen molecules that harm cells in the body.

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that protects cell membranes by preventing damage from free radicals.

Scientists have not ruled out treatment of cataracts with antioxidant nutrients, but say future research will focus on various combinations of nutrients.

This study was published in the May issue of Ophthalmology.

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