September 06, 2002
In the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Iannuzzi and colleagues of Cardarelli Hospital in Naples found that women who consumed more vitamin E were less likely to get early signs of cardiovascular disease. They looked at ultrasound evidence of thickening in the carotid arteries, a marker for vascular disease throughout the body. Study participants were women from Southern Italy. They got most of their vitamin E from legumes, vegetables and olive oil.
1.6mg, or 2.3 IU (International Units) of Vitamin E, a natural antioxidant, is present in one tablespoon of olive oil. One tablespoon of olive oil would provide 8% of the recommended daily allotment for vitamin E.
Atherosclerosis is the process of plaque formation, thickening and blocking of the arteries which can lead to heart attacks and stroke. LDL cholesterol, the "bad" cholesterol is thought to be partially responsible for these changes when it oxidizes in the artery wall. It has been hoped that antioxidants in the diet would be found to decrease atherosclerosis.
Doctor Uannuzzi found that additional Vitamin E only helped those women whose levels started out low. Women with an adequate intake could not lower their risk of atherosclerosis by adding vitamin E to the diet.
Other antioxidants such as Vitamin A and C did not seem to affect carotid thickening.
SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2002;76:582-587.