Indeed, the study authors themselves said that the role of aspirin as primary prevention in patients with type 2 diabetes is yet to be understood.
As with aspirin in the diabetic population, vitamin E and C supplements are widely used to prevent cardiovascular events, again without strong evidence to support the practice in low-risk individuals.
In the second study, 14,641 U.S. male doctors aged 50 or older were randomly assigned to receive 400 IU of vitamin E every other day and 500 milligrams of vitamin C every day or a placebo at the same intervals. The vast majority of participants had no history of cardiovascular disease.
After a mean follow-up of eight years, the researchers determined that neither vitamin had an effect on the incidence of major cardiovascular events or death, when compared with a placebo. This was true even of the 5.1 percent of men who had a history of cardiovascular disease.
There was, however, a 74 percent increase in the risk of hemorrhagic (bleeding) stroke among men in the vitamin E group.
"Based on this and other studies, there is absolutely no reason for patients to be taking E for cardioprotection, and if they are doing so, we should encourage them to stop, as I have been doing for the last five years or so," Lavie said. "The jury has still been out about C, but this certainly indicates no benefit, although no definite harm."
A representative for the supplements industry took a different view.
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