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Editor's Correspondence
December 9/23, 2002

Combined Vitamin E and Vitamin C Supplement Use and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Mortality

Arch Intern Med. 2002;162(22):2630. doi:

After analyzing data collected from the Physicians' Health Study, Muntwyler and colleagues1 conclude that there was no association between the use of vitamin E, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), or multiple vitamin supplements and mortality from cardiovascular disease (CVD) or coronary heart disease (CHD) among a low-risk population of American physicians. While this cautious conclusion seems generally correct, the authors do not comment on some of their findings presented in Table 3 of their article. Among the subset of low-risk users of combined vitamin E and vitamin C supplements, there was a large and statistically significant decreased risk for fatal CHD and CVD (41% and 34%, respectively). While this observation may be a chance finding or the result of residual confounding, it would seem, at least among this subgroup, that the authors found an association worthy of note. If such an effect is confirmed, it would have public health implications.

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