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Vitamin E May Benefit People with Diabetes

New study suggests that vitamin E supplementation has an important role in delaying the onset of the diabetic complications.

Diabetes is accompanied by severe oxidative stress which is caused by increased oxygen free radical production. An imbalance which results from an increased production and/or the reduced scavenging of these free radicals leads to a metabolic state of oxidative stress, which consequently leads to tissue damage.

The damage which is done to the bimolecular by the reactive oxygen species (oxidative damage) is kept in check by a complex network of antioxidant defense and repair systems. One of the best characterized antioxidants is vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin that helps in preventing damage to the lipids by the oxygen free radicals. Vitamin E is known to be deficient in diabetes.

A recent prospective clinical study recruited 128 type I and II Diabetic patients with and without complications to investigate the role of vitamin E in preventing the development and the progression of the diabetic complications. These patients were divided separately into the test (which received insulin/oral hypoglycemic and vitamin E) and the control groups (which received only insulin/oral hypoglycemic drugs).

Fasting Blood Sugar (FBS), Post-prandial Blood Sugar (PPBS), Total Cholesterol (TC), and the Blood Pressure (BP) was monitored at 0(beginning),12,18 and 24 months. Cardiovascular disease, retinopathy, nephropathy and foot ulcer development and progression were also monitored. The data was analyzed by the Z test for the means and for the proportions.

The study found that there was a statistically significant decrease in the post-prandial blood sugar level, total cholesterol level and the diastolic blood pressure in the test groups of both type I Diabetes and type II Diabetes at 24 months as compared to those in the control group. The patients who were on the vitamin E supplementation had a delayed development and a slow progression of diabetic complications.

This study provided evidence that vitamin E supplementation has an important role in delaying the onset of the diabetic complications as well as for slowing down the progression of the complications. However it remains unclear if routine vitamin E supplementation should be recommended to all diabetic patients. Further larger studies are needed to better understand the role of vitamin E in diabetes.

Jain & Jain; Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research. 2012 December, Vol-6(10): 1624-162

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