Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical, in Boston, studied the long-term effects.
First, the details.
11,545 apparently healthy male physicians 50years or older without a diagnosis of cataract were randomly assigned to a treatment group.
Vitamin E (400 IU of synthetic alpha-tocopherol) or placebo every other day.
Within each of these treatment groups, the doctors were again randomly assigned to get either daily vitamin C (500 mg of synthetic ascorbic acid) or placebo.
The incidence of cataract was recorded of 8 years.
And, the results.
1174incident cataracts were confirmed.
There were 579 cataractsin the vitamin E–treated group and 595 cases in the vitaminE placebo group.
For vitamin C, there were 593 cataracts in the treatedgroup and 581 in the placebo group.
The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “Long-term alternate-day use of 400 IU of vitaminE and daily use of 500 mg of vitamin C had no notable beneficialor harmful effect on the risk of cataract.”
Earlier this year, researchers at Karolinska Institutet, in Stockholm, Sweden studied more than 24,000 women and concluded; “the use of vitamin C supplements may be associated with higher risk of age-related cataract among women.”
John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.