To the Editor.—
The weight of evidence, recently reviewed,1 suggests that vitamin E reduces the risk of thromboembolic disorders. This nutrient appears to inhibit platelet aggregation directly1,2 and vitamin K indirectly.2 Early work pointing to an antithrombin effect3 has been more recently disputed, solely on the basis of unpublished observations.4According to his article in The Journal (1981;246:129), Roberts has found that many patients with pulmonary emboli or thrombophlebitis had been taking vitamin E. This is not surprising. Tens of millions of Americans take this nutrient for various reasons. One could easily find a large group with just about any disease who have been taking vitamin E.If these observations imply that tocopherol may cause thromboembolism, we had better also indict aspirin as a cause of strokes (many patients have strokes after starting a regimen of aspirin for transient ischemic attacks). Four patients in Roberts'
Gaby AR, Wright JV. Effects of Vitamin E. JAMA. 1982;248(9):1066. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330090038022