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Lack of Vitamin E Linked to Physical Decline
Date:1/22/2008

Age, but not other vitamins, also associated with poor physical function,,,,

TUESDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- If you don't get enough vitamin E in your diet, you may have a greater risk of declining physical function as you age, according to the findings of a new study.

Yale researchers report that people with the lowest blood levels of vitamin E have about 60 percent greater odds of a decline in physical function when compared to people with the highest levels of vitamin E.

"Low plasma levels of vitamin E are associated with subsequent decline in physical function," said the study's lead author, Benedetta Bartali, a nutritionist and a Brown-Coxe postdoctoral fellow at Yale University's School of Medicine.

"As an antioxidant, vitamin E may prevent or reduce the propagation of free radicals in our body, and this may help to reduce muscle or DNA damage and the development, for example, of atherosclerosis and other pathologic conditions," Bartali said, although she added that this study wasn't designed to identify the reasons why vitamin E might be helpful.

Results of the study are published in the Jan. 23 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In the past, it was believed that vitamin E could help prevent serious illness, such as heart disease or Alzheimer's. However, more current research found that excess levels of vitamin E, rather than being helpful, could actually be harmful. For that reason, it's recommended that people don't take more than 400 I.U.'s [International Units] of vitamin E daily. And the recommended daily dose is significantly lower than that -- 15 milligrams or 22.5 I.U.'s daily for anyone over the age of 15, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Because poor nutrition has been associated with physical decline in older people, Bartali and her colleagues randomly selected almost 700 adults over age 65 from an ongoing
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