Eating foods which contain significant amounts of vitamin E may protect against the development of type 2 diabetes, finds a new study published this month. However taking the vitamin in supplement form seems to offer no further protection.
Researchers at the University of South Carolina in the US set out to determine if vitamin E would reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. They noted the significant rise in the disease among the American population over the last decade. Prevention of type 2 diabetes is mainly through changes to lifestyle and diet.
The team studied participants in the Insulin Resistance and Atherosclerosis Study (IRAS) which included 895 non-diabetic adults at the beginning of the five-year study. During the study period, 148 participants developed type 2 diabetes. Dietary vitamin E was estimated by a food frequency interview, and usual supplement use was confirmed by supplement label. Plasma -tocopherol was also measured. Analyses were conducted separately for individuals who did (318) and did not (577) use vitamin E supplements.
The researchers concluded that vitamin E within foods may protect against the incidence of type 2 diabetes. However, high-dose supplementation does not appear to increase that benefit.
"Among individuals who reported habitual use of vitamin E supplements (at least once per month in the year before the study period), no protective effect was observed for either reported intake of vitamin E or plasma concentration of -tocopherol," wrote the authors in the December issue of Diabetes Care.