Vitamin E and Vitamin C Supplement


Use and risk of all-cause and coronary heart disease mortality in older persons the Established Populations for Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly

Katalin G Losonczy, Tamara B Harris, and Richard J Havlik

Epidemiology, Demography and Biometry Program
National Institute on Aging
Bethesda, MD

We examined vitamin E and vitamin C supplement use in relation to mortality risk and whether vitamin C enhanced the effects of vitamin E in 11,178 persons aged 67--105 y who participated in the Established Populations for Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly in 1984--1993. Participants were asked to report all nonprescription drugs currently used, including vitamin supplements. Persons were defined as users of these supplements if they reported individual vitamin E and/or vitamin C use, not part of a multivitamin. During the follow-up period there were 3490 deaths. Use of vitamin E reduced the risk of all-cause mortality [relative risk (RR) = 0.66; 95% CI: 0.53, 0.83] and risk of coronary disease mortality (RR = 0.53; 95% CI: 0.34, 0.84). Use of vitamin E at two points in time was also associated with reduced risk of total mortality compared with that in persons who did not use any vitamin supplements. Effects were strongest for coronary heart disease mortality (RR = 0.37; 95% CI: 0.15, 0.90). The RR for cancer mortality was 0.41 (95% CI: 0.15, 1.08). Simultaneous use of vitamins E and C was associated with a lower risk of total mortality (RR = 0.58; 95% CI: 0.42, 0.79) and coronary mortality (RR = 0.47; 95% CI: 0.25, 0.87). Adjustment for alcohol use, smoking history, aspirin use, and medical conditions did not substantially alter these findings. These findings are consistent with those for younger persons and suggest protective effects of vitamin E supplements in the elderly. Am J Clin Nutr 1996;64:190-6.

CLINICAL NUTRITION Volume 64 Number 2 August 1996