The consumer has received mixed messages about the vitamin. In the past 18 months there has been considerable debate over the safety of vitamin E from the industry and media, much of which was spurred by a widely publicized meta-analysis at the tail end of 2004 that linked vitamin E with an increased risk of all-cause mortality (Annals of Internal Medicine 2005 Jan 4;142(1):37-46).
The design and methodology of the meta-analysis has since been critically questioned, but the public perception of the vitamin seems to have been affected by the initial media reporting of the study.
It is against these "Media Myths" that NOW Foods' Neil Levin will give a presentation, entitled "Vitamin E - Hype or Science?" Levin says that defects in scientific papers, coupled with inaccurate and uncritical reporting, have lead to "Media Myths" about the vitamin.
"While science is self-correcting, with critical analysis and ability to repeat experiments leading to an enhanced understanding of a field, Media Myths are self-referential and are scarcely dented by subsequent study. The news coverage of Vitamin E will be contrasted with its true scientific record," wrote Levin in his abstract.
Levin told NutraIngredients-USA.com: "The controversy over Vitamin E safety and efficacy has escalated since the pre-publication release of a meta-analysis in late 2004, later published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
That flawed review began a season of negative media reports on Vitamin E's safety at potencies over 400 IU, even though the authors had admitted some flaws and cautioned not to apply their results to other populations. Even a more rigorous follow-up study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, concluding that the Annals authors should have found no problem at doses up to 2,000 IU in their data, failed to stem the negative reports that resulted in a approximate 19 percent drop in Vitamin E consumption and the cardiologist community turning away from the vitamin. Additional reports also added to the media negativity, without regard for reasoned analysis."
The symposium, to be presented as a "Hot Topic" at the annual meeting of the American Oil Chemists Society in Missouri next week, will be moderated by Ronald Watson, PhD., from the Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona.
This symposium will present current research on the role of natural vitamin E as a cost-effective modality with which to improve health conditions associated with leading causes of chronic disease and increased mortality, touching on the public health and cost-of-care benefits of this vitamin that are often overlooked.
In addition to Levin's presentation, Michael Lelah, PhD., NOW Foods, will explore the issues surrounding natural versus synthetic forms of the vitamin. Lelah will be followed by Qing Jiang, PhD., from Purdue University, who will continue the natural theme with the presentation, "Natural Forms of Vitamin E as Anti-inflammatory and Anti-cancer Agents."
Barrie Tan, PhD., American River Nutrition, will discuss the role of the gamma and delta forms of tocopherols and tocotrienols in a presentation entitled, "New Perspectives and Applications for Desmethyl Tocotrienols and Desmethyl Tocopherols and Their Uses."
Tan's presentation is followed by Sridevi Devaraj, PhD, UC Davis Medical Center, with the presentation, "Tocopherols, Oxidative Stress and Inflammation."
Chandan Sen, PhD., from The Ohio State University Medical Center will continue the tocotrienol theme with, "Tocotrienol: The Natural Vitamin E Against Stroke-Related Neurodegeneration."
The symposium, scheduled for Tuesday, May 2 from 9:00AM to 12:00PM, will close with an open discussion with the speakers.