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Vitamin E supplements in asthma: a parallel group randomised placebo controlled trial
  1. P J K Pearson1,
  2. S A Lewis1,
  3. J Britton2,
  4. A Fogarty1
  1. 1Division of Respiratory Medicine, University of Nottingham, Clinical Science Building, Nottingham City Hospital, Nottingham NG5 1PB, UK
  2. 2Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Nottingham, Clinical Science Building, Nottingham City Hospital, Nottingham NG5 1PB, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr A Fogarty
    Division of Respiratory Medicine, University of Nottingham, Clinical Science Building, Nottingham City Hospital, Nottingham NG5 1PB, UK; andrew.fogartynottingham.ac.uk

Abstract

Background: Increased dietary vitamin E intake is associated with a reduced incidence of asthma, and combinations of antioxidant supplements including vitamin E are effective in reducing ozone induced bronchoconstriction. A study was undertaken to investigate the effect of supplementation with vitamin E for 6 weeks on bronchial hyperresponsiveness in atopic adults with asthma.

Methods: 72 participants from a clinical trial register of adults with asthma were randomised to receive 500 mg natural vitamin E or matched placebo for 6 weeks in a placebo controlled, double blind parallel group clinical trial. Inclusion criteria included age 18–60 years, maintenance treatment of at least one dose of inhaled corticosteroid per day, a positive skin prick test to one of three common allergens, and bronchial hyperresponsiveness to methacholine (defined as a dose provoking a 20% fall in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) (PD20) of 12.25 μmol). Secondary outcomes were FEV1, forced vital capacity, mean morning and evening peak flow, symptom scores, bronchodilator use, and serum immunoglobulin E levels.

Results: In the primary intention to treat analysis the change in PD20 was similar in the vitamin E and placebo groups with a mean difference of +0.25 doubling doses of methacholine (95% confidence interval −0.67 to +1.16 greater with vitamin E). There was no effect of vitamin E supplementation on any other measure of asthma control, either in the intention to treat or per protocol analysis. There was also no effect of vitamin E supplementation on serum immunoglobulin levels.

Conclusion: Dietary supplementation with vitamin E adds no benefit to current standard treatment in adults with mild to moderate asthma.

  • vitamin E
  • asthma
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Footnotes

  • Funding from National Asthma Campaign. The vitamin E tablets were provided by RP Scherer Ltd.

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