Vitamin E supplements may reduce women’s risk of developing potentially fatal blood clots, according to a new study published in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association.
“The data indicated that, in general, women taking vitamin E were 21 percent less likely to suffer a blood clot,” the American Heart Association said.
In a condition known as venous thromboembolism, blood clots form in a patient’s veins. If the clots prevent blood from flowing to the lungs, brain or heart, the condition can result in death.
Researchers reviewed data on 39,876 women who were taking part in the Women’s Health Study. All participants were aged 45 or older. One group had been given 600 IU of Vitamin E every other day for 10 years; the other group was given a placebo at the same frequency.
Over the course of 10 years, 482 women developed venous thromboembolism; 269 of these were in the placebo group, and only 213 were in the group being dosed with vitamin E. Researchers found that vitamin E appeared to have the greatest preventive benefit for women who already had a genetic predisposition toward developing blood clots.
The American Heart Association does not typically recommend antioxidant vitamin supplements like vitamin E to prevent cardiovascular conditions or diseases, such as venous thromboembolism. Echoing this caution, the study authors warned that patients should not replace blood thinning medications with a vitamin E treatment.
Nonetheless, the authors expressed hope that vitamin supplementation may help reduce women’s risk of a common condition. “These data suggest that supplementation with vitamin E may reduce the risk of VTE in women, and those with a prior history or genetic predisposition may particularly benefit,” they wrote.