Vitamin E safe at recommended doses
4 February 2014 - Vitamin E is an essential
nutrient that is required for proper functioning of the human body,
and is safe when used in accordance with Australian intake
recommendations, the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI)
ASMI's comments follow the release of findings from a study, published in Science Translational Medicine, which showed lung cancer progression in mice which were genetically modified to be predisposed to fast-growing cancer and were given high doses of vitamin E.1
According to ASMI, the study findings should not detract from the importance of this essential nutrient for health, and consumers taking vitamin E supplements to meet dietary shortfalls should not be alarmed by the findings.
"Vitamins, minerals and supplements have a legitimate place in
the wider health system and remain important for many people who
use them regularly to prevent illness and improve health and
wellbeing. Considering that the study was conducted in mice with
induced cancer, we need to be careful about extrapolating results
out to otherwise healthy humans," said Steve Scarff, ASMI
Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Director.
ASMI believes the study findings need to be interpreted with caution.
Firstly, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently
evaluated and reaffirmed the safety for vitamin E, stating that it
found adequate evidence that supplementation with vitamin E has
little or no significant harms.2
Secondly, the findings are in conflict with a strong body of evidence which suggests that vitamin E can decrease the incidence of some cancers in humans including lung, prostate, stomach and gastrointestinal.3 Other studies have shown that supplementation with vitamin E and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) shrink/slow the growth of lung cancer tumours in mice.4
Consumers are encouraged to talk to a qualified healthcare
professional who can provide advice on nutritional needs. As with
all medications, it is important that consumers follow the label
instructions and consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner
if they have any concerns.
About ASMI: The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI) is the peak body representing sponsors of non-prescription medicines - over-the-counter (OTC) and complementary medicines. Its members make up 85 per cent of the $4bn self care market. Membership totals 60 companies and ASMI members employ approximately 17,000 people with exports estimated at $600 million annually. ASMI's mission is to promote better health through responsible self care. This means ensuring that safe and effective self care products are readily available to all Australians at a reasonable cost. ASMI works to encourage responsible use by consumers and an increasing role for cost-effective self-medication products as part of the broad national health strategy. www.asmi.com.au
1. Volkan I. Sayin et al. Antioxidants accelerate lung cancer progression in mice. Science Translational Medicine 6. 221ra15 (2014). .
2. US Preventive Services Task Force. Available at www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/draftrec2.htm (2013)
3. Braun L and Cohen M. Herbs & Natural Supplements. An Evidence-Based Guide. 3rd Ed. Churchill Livingstone / Elsevier (2010).
4. Sablina, A. A. et al. The antioxidant function of the p53 tumor suppressor. Nat Med 11, 1306-1313 (2005).
For more information or to arrange a media interview, please
PR Manager, Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI)
M:0422 084 951 E: firstname.lastname@example.org