Vitamin E may boost TB risk in male smokers with high vitamin C intake

Written by:
Subscribe to Oneindia News

Washington, Feb 22 : A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Helsinki, Finland, has revealed that Vitamin E might increase tuberculosis risk in male smokers with high vitamin C intake.

In the study, Harri Hemila and Jaakko Kaprio, of the University of Helsinki, Finland found that six-year vitamin E supplementation increased tuberculosis risk by 72 percent in male smokers who had high dietary vitamin C intake, but vitamin E had no effect on those who had low dietary vitamin C intake.

Previous studies had suggested that vitamin E might improve the immune system and in animal studies it seemed to protect against various infections.

Keeping the previous studies in mind, the researchers carried out a study to determine whether vitamin E supplementation might decrease the risk of tuberculosis.

They analysed the data of the randomised trial, which was conducted in Finland between 1985-1993, and included male smokers aged 50-69 years.

There were 174 cases of tuberculosis in 29,023 participants during the 6-year supplementation of 50mg/day vitamin E.

The effect of vitamin E on tuberculosis risk was modified by the intake of vitamin C in diet.

The findings showed that Vitamin E had no effect on participants who had dietary vitamin C intake less than 90 mg/day.

However, it was also found that vitamin E supplementation increased tuberculosis risk by 72 percent in those who had dietary vitamin C intake over 90 mg/day.

The most dramatic increase in tuberculosis risk by vitamin E was restricted to a one-year period after the initiation of supplementation.

Issued by the prestigious Institute of Medicine, the US nutritional recommendations consider that vitamin E is safe in amounts up to 1000 mg/day.

However, this new study suggests that in some population groups vitamin E supplementation might be harmful at a substantially lower dose, 50 mg/day.

The researchers concluded 'the consumption of vitamin E supplements by the general population should be discouraged because there is evidence of harm for some people.'

The study is published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Please Wait while comments are loading...