Though taking gamma-tocopherol is safe, Bruno noted that longer-term studies with more participants would be required to nail down specific dietary recommendations related to smoking cessation.
A total of 30 smokers in their 20s who had smoked at least half a pack per day for a year participated in the study. All participants stopped smoking, and 16 received 500 milligrams daily of gamma-tocopherol while 14 received a placebo.
In addition to taking blood samples, researchers measured vascular function by obtaining ultrasound images of an artery in the upper arm as the vessel responded to a surge of blood flow after circulation in the arm was stopped for five minutes.
The quality of vascular function is defined by the artery's ability to dilate in response to the surge of blood more dilation suggests the vessel has appropriate responses to changes in blood flow.
"Greater dilatory response is an indicator of vascular health. People with a long history of smoking tend to have low vasodilatory responses," Bruno said.
Participants who took the supplements showed greater improvements in vascular function and also had lower levels of two inflammation-related proteins in their blood than did participants who received a placebo.
Bruno said the lower levels of those two proteins in the supplemented participants' blood suggest that the gamma-tocopherol form of vitamin E restores vascular function at least in part by lowering inflammation.
Gamma-tocopherol is abundant in the American diet, but is difficult to obtain from low-calorie sources. Food sources include soybean, canola and some other vegetable oils, and certain nuts such as pistachios, pecans, cashews and peanuts. Supplements that are rich in gamma-tocopherol c
|Contact: Richard Bruno|
Ohio State University