Scientists at the National Institute on Aging compared use of individual vitamin E and C supplements in 11,000 people over age 66 with their risk of death. Over a 3-year period, those who took separate supplements of both E and C had a 40% reduced risk of dying from any cause and a 50% reduced risk of dying from heart disease than did people who took neither supplement, reports the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Those who took vitamin E alone had somewhat lower risks; but those who took only vitamin C did not.
Researchers didn’t record the amounts of supplements. But individual vitamin E supplements are usually at least 100 international units-an amount you can’t get from food. Vitamin C supplements are usually at least 100 mg.-an amount you can get from food. (By the way, getting vitamin E and C as part of a multi supplement-often that means 30 I.U. of E and 60 mg. of C-was not linked to lower risks.)
This study doesn’t prove supplements bring better health; maybe supplement takers live healthier lifestyles. Meantime, we recommend a healthy lifestyle and a daily E supplement of 100 to 400 I.U. and a vitamin C supplement of 100 to 500 mg.