Abstract Title:

Higher baseline serum concentrations of vitamin E are associated with lower total and cause-specific mortality in the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study.

Abstract Source:

Phytomedicine. 2009 Dec;16(12):1105-11. Epub 2009 Jul 8. PMID: 17093175

Abstract Author(s):

Margaret E Wright, Karla A Lawson, Stephanie J Weinstein, Pirjo Pietinen, Philip R Taylor, Jarmo Virtamo, Demetrius Albanes


BACKGROUND: A meta-analysis of 19 trials suggested a small increase in the risk of all-cause mortality with high-dose vitamin E supplementation. Little is known, however, about the relation between mortality and circulating concentrations of vitamin E resulting from dietary intake, low-dose supplementation, or both. OBJECTIVE: We examined whether baseline serum alpha-tocopherol concentrations are associated with total and cause-specific mortality. DESIGN: A prospective cohort study of 29 092 Finnish male smokers aged 50-69 y who participated in the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention (ATBC) Study was carried out. Fasting serum alpha-tocopherol was measured at baseline by using HPLC. Only 10% of participants reported vitamin E supplement use at baseline, and thus serum concentrations of vitamin E mainly reflected dietary intake and other host factors. Risks of total and cause-specific mortality were estimated by using proportional hazards models. RESULTS: During up to 19 y of follow-up, 13 380 deaths (including 4518 and 5776 due to cancer and cardiovascular disease, respectively) were identified. Men in the higher quintiles of serum alpha-tocopherol had significantly lower risks of total and cause-specific mortality than did those in the lowest quintile [relative risk (RR) = 0.82 (95% CI: 0.78, 0.86) for total mortality and 0.79 (0.72, 0.86), 0.81 (0.75, 0.88), and 0.70 (0.63, 0.79) for deaths due to cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other causes, respectively; P for trend for all<0.0001]. Cubic regression spline analysis of continuous serum alpha-tocopherol values indicated greater risk reductions with increasing concentrations up to approximately 13-14 mg/L, after which no further benefit was noted. CONCLUSION: Higher circulating concentrations of alpha-tocopherol within the normal range are associated with significantly lower total and cause-specific mortality in older male smokers.

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