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Aspirin and Vitamin E Get an “F”

Recent findings from the 40,000-subject Women’s Health Study were disappointing to those who regularly take aspirin or vitamin E for disease prevention. The latest results of this ongoing trial appeared in the July 6, 2005, edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Published under two separate studies, the findings put to rest the notion that vitamin E can reduce the risk of cancer or cardiovascular disease in healthy women. “The data from this large trial indicated that 600 International Units of natural-source vitamin E . . . provided no overall benefit for major cardiovascular events or cancer,” reported the researchers, who concluded that “these data do not support recommending vitamin E supplementation for cardiovascular disease or cancer prevention among women.”

The second study, which focused on prophylactic aspirin use in the same population of women, was similarly discouraging: “Results from this large-scale, long-term trial suggest that alternate-day use of low-dose aspirin (100 milligrams [mg]) for an average 10 years of treatment does not lower risk of total, breast, colorectal, or other site-specific cancers.”

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