Randomised controlled trial of vitamin E in patients with coronary disease: Cambridge Heart Antioxidant Study (CHAOS)
This placebo-controlled double-blind study carried out by the Cambridge University (UK) looked into the question of whether supplementing high doses of alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) can reduce the risk of heart attacks. The study included 2,002 patients with atherosclerosis who were split into two groups. Over an average period of 17 months, one group (1035 people) received vitamin E capsules (400 IU or 800 IU daily) and the other group (967) a placebo. Patients who were treated with alpha-tocopherol showed a significant decrease in the risk of cardiac death and non-fatal heart attacks. This result led to the conclusion that supplementing vitamin E can significantly reduce cardiovascular risk. Further details can be found in the study.
The underlying disease process of coronary artery disease (CAD) is called arteriosclerosis. This process starts with a weakening of the blood vessel walls, most frequently caused by an insufficient dietary intake of vitamins and other micronutrients. This leads to an underproduction of collagen and other reinforcement molecules in the artery walls and to the initiation of a repair process to compensate for the growing instability of the wall. The arteriosclerotic plaques that – with time – narrow the blood flow in the coronary arteries is essentially an overshooting repair process for the vitamin-deficient coronary artery wall. A heart attack occurs when the already narrowed artery is clogged and the supply of oxygen and nutrients to billions of heart muscle cells is interrupted. Angina pectoris. Angina pectoris is the typical alarm signal for an increased risk of heart attack. Angina pectoris typically manifests as a sharp pain in the middle of the chest, which frequently radiates into the left arm, but can also manifest itself in other (untypical) symptoms.
Stephens NG, Parsons A, Schofield PM, Kelly F, Cheeseman K, Mitchinson MJ. Randomised controlled trial of vitamin E in patients with coronary disease: Cambridge Heart Antioxidant Study (CHAOS). Lancet. 1996 Mar 23;347(9004):781-6.