Warning: The Wrong Kind Of Vitamin E Could Do You More Harm Than Good

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Looking after your heart health is crucial, especially as you get older. According to the British Heart Foundation, cardiovascular disease is still the leading cause of mortality, being responsible for one death every three minutes in the UK. The conventional solution is to take statin drugs – and 12 million of us, including almost all men over 60 and all women over 75, qualify for a prescription under current National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines.1

Yet a slew of scientific studies show that statins are far from being a magic bullet. An independent review of major trials (by doctors with no links to drugs companies) revealed that, in people without existing heart disease, statins bring only a tiny reduction in the chances of a non-fatal heart attack or stroke, and do nothing to prevent cardiovascular deaths.2

Another major drawback is the long laundry list of side effects statins can cause. These include crippling joint and muscle pain, digestive problems, liver and kidney damage, memory loss, depression, premature ageing and higher risks of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.3

When is mainstream medicine going to start viewing statins as a last resort for the most serious cases, rather than a mass medication for healthy people?

Fortunately, there are safer ways to protect your heart. A low-carb diet containing sufficient essential vitamins, minerals and plant polyphenols can go a long way towards keeping your heart and arteries healthy. One nutrient with proven hearth health benefits is natural vitamin E. Vitamin E is the most important antioxidant we get from food, and epidemiological studies have linked a high intake of vitamin E with a lower risk of coronary heart disease.4

But, not all vitamin E is the same and the type you take can make a big difference to the health benefits it gives you. Nutri Advanced Cardi-E is an innovative, liquid preparation of vitamin E that is nothing like the ordinary forms of the vitamin that you get in most high street supplements.

Natural vitamin E is heart protective, but the synthetic form could be harmful

Naturally-occurring vitamin E is not a single substance, but a mixture of eight separate plant compounds. Nutri Advanced Cardi-E contains three of the most biologically active forms, alpha-, gamma- and delta- tocopherols. The synthetic vitamin E found in cheap supplements, on the other hand, is a single chemical called dl-alpha-tocopherol.

The ‘dl’ bit at the front is important because it shows that, although this synthetic vitamin is chemically similar to natural alpha-tocopherol, its molecule has a different shape. And that means it won’t do the same things in your body.

A clinical trial in Israel found that when middle-aged people with diabetes were given 400 IU of natural vitamin E a day, their risk of cardiovascular events such as stroke, heart attack and death fell by a whopping 50 per cent.5 But, the same benefits have not been seen in other trials, where synthetic vitamin E was used.

Taking high doses of synthetic vitamin E might even be harmful. A review of 19 separate studies, published in 2005, linked vitamin E supplements with an increased risk of death from all causes.6 This was widely reported at the time and a lot of people stopped taking vitamin E because of it. But almost all of these studies used the synthetic dl-alpha-tocopherol form of vitamin E.

Even if a vitamin E supplement says ‘natural’ on the label, it is likely to contain only alpha-tocopherol and not the gamma and delta kinds that are included in Nutri Advanced Cardi-E. Yet, recent research shows that these other kinds of tocopherols may be even more important in preventing atherosclerosis, the build-up of plaque in the arteries that is the major cause of cardiovascular disease.

The right kinds of tocopherols help keep your arteries free from deadly plaque

Atherosclerosis is an inflammatory disease that involves excessive deposition of oxidised cholesterol in the arteries – which is why conventional treatment focuses on reducing cholesterol levels. But cholesterol is important in the body; among other things, it is needed for making sex hormones and vitamin D. Blocking its production also means the body can’t make co-enzyme Q10 (Co-Q10), which is vital for heart function.

The mixed tocopherols in Nutri Advanced Cardi-E tackle atherosclerosis in a different way. They help prevent the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol particles, block inflammation and stop blood platelets from clumping together to form clots. Scientific studies have revealed that all three of the tocopherols in Cardi-E work together to combat atherosclerosis and that this combination is much more effective than alpha-tocopherol on its own.

Researchers at the University of Uppsala, Sweden, incubated human red blood cells with different concentrations of alpha-tocopherol alone or a mix of alpha-, gamma- and delta- tocopherols (the same ingredients as in Cardi-E). They then exposed them to hydrogen peroxide, a strong oxidising compound. The tocopherol mixture protected the cells from oxidation much more strongly than alpha-tocopherol alone, due to higher uptake of gamma- and delta-tocopherols into the cells.7

The same Swedish researchers also showed that the alpha-, gamma- and delta- tocopherol mixture prevented human blood platelets from clumping together more effectively than alpha-tocopherol on its own.8 Platelet clumping can lead to a potentially dangerous blood clot, which could cause a heart attack or stroke.

While alpha-, gamma- and delta- tocopherols are all beneficial in preventing cardiovascular disease and work in slightly different ways in the body, they compete with one another for uptake into the cells. That means taking alpha-tocopherol alone, as in most ‘natural’ vitamin E supplements, could actually block the uptake of the more valuable gamma- and delta- tocopherols from your diet.9 And that’s why each dose of Nutri Advanced Cardi-E contains the perfect balance of 50mg of gamma-tocopherol, 20mg of delta-tocopherol and 10mg of alpha-tocopherol.

What to take for best results

The recommended dose of Nutri Advanced Cardi-E is six drops, once or twice daily, with food. Shake the bottle before use and keep it vertical, collecting the drops on a teaspoon (the mixture is oil-based, so doesn’t dissolve in water).

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, taking medication or have a medical condition, you are advised to consult a healthcare practitioner before taking this product. Because vitamin E has anticoagulant properties, you should also talk to your doctor before using Cardi-E if you are currently taking blood-thinning drugs.

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