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Should diabetics begin taking high doses of Vitamin E?


Did you ever notice that the flesh of a half eaten apple turns brown after a few minutes? It is the exposure to life giving oxygen (oxidation) in the air which is responsible for that brown discoloration. Oxidation does the same thing to our body’s delicate tissues and is why so many health experts recommend anti-oxidants for those who want to live longer and better. The good news is that one of the most popular anti-oxidants, Vitamin E, may do more than just preserve our tissues, but may also stimulate blood flow to vital organs. Nowhere is improved blood flow more essential than to the retina (back of the eye) in diabetics, who can become blind from diabetic eye disease (retinopathy). Retinopathy is thought to be in part due to reduced flow of oxygen rich blood to the retina.

Recently published research from the Joslin Diabetic Clinic in Boston (Diabetes Care, August 1999) shows that high doses (1800 IU daily) of Vitamin E significantly increased blood flow to the back of the eye in diabetics. Another benefit of Vitamin E was to improve kidney function which might also indicate better blood flow to the kidney.

Should diabetics begin taking high doses of Vitamin E? Although experts are presently divided on this topic I believe that at least moderate supplemental use of Vitamin E should be considered. Vitamin E is relatively harmless otherwise and the benefits appear to outweigh the potential risks.

Of course, always consult with your own health professional before changing your treatment plans.

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