, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 249-256
Date: 16 Oct 2007

Adverse effects of vitamin E by induction of drug metabolism

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Observational studies with healthy persons demonstrated an inverse association of vitamin E with the risk of coronary heart disease or cancer, the outcome of large-scale clinical trials conducted to prove a benefit of vitamin E in the recurrence and/or progression of such disease, however, was disappointing. Vitamin E did not provide benefits to patients with cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes or hypertension. Even harmful events and worsening of pre-existing diseases were reported, which are hard to explain. Since vitamin E is metabolized along the same routes as xenobiotics and induces drug-metabolizing enzymes in rodents, it is hypothesized that a supplementation with high dosages of vitamin E may also lead to an induction of the drug-metabolizing system in patients that depend on drug therapy. Compromising essential therapy might therefore outweigh any benefit of vitamin E in patients. It is recommended to work out at which threshold the drug-metabolizing system can be induced in humans before new trials with high dosages of vitamin E are started.