COLUMBUS, Ohio Taking a specific form of a vitamin E supplement can accelerate the health benefits that occur when people quit smoking, new research suggests.
In the small study, improvement in blood vessel function associated with the added vitamin E potentially translates into an estimated 19 percent greater drop in future risk for cardiovascular disease.
Smokers were recruited to participate in a study to quit smoking for seven days, with blood markers of inflammation and blood vessel function measured before and after the trial. After seven days of not smoking, participants saw an increase in their vascular function by an average of 2.8 percent. Those who quit smoking and also took the gamma-tocopherol form of vitamin E showed a 1.5 percent additional improvement in vascular function.
While these changes in vascular function may appear to be small, previous large-scale studies suggest that every 1 percent increase in vascular function or improvement in the blood vessel's ability to dilate translates into a 13 percent drop in risk of developing heart disease later in life.
"This is a very short-term study that shows very promising effects," said Richard Bruno, associate professor of human nutrition at The Ohio State University and senior author of the study.
"The underlying rationale is that we know it takes many years before the risk for cardiovascular disease of a former smoker matches that of a nonsmoker. We hope to develop a therapy to combine with smoking cessation that could accelerate the restoration of vascular function and reduce cardiovascular risk."
The research was presented Tuesday (4/23) at the annual Experimental Biology meeting in Boston.
The supplement in the study is not the same as the average vitamin E available on most store shelves. Vitamin E occurs in eight forms based on their chemical structure, and the most well-known form belongs to a variety called tocopherols. In
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Ohio State University