Chronic vitamin E administration improves brachial reactivity and increases intracellular magnesium concentration in type II diabetic patients

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2000 Jan;85(1):109-15. doi: 10.1210/jcem.85.1.6258.


Vascular disease accounts for the majority of the clinical complications in diabetes mellitus. As an exaggerated oxidative stress degree has been postulated as the link between diabetes mellitus and endothelial function, a possible positive effect of plasma vitamin E (Vit.E) administration on brachial reactivity could be postulated. Our study aims at investigating the possible effect of chronic Vit.E administration on brachial reactivity, oxidative stress indexes, and intracellular magnesium and calcium content in type II diabetic patients free of diabetic complications. Forty adult, type II diabetic patients were enrolled in the study, which was deigned as a double blind, randomized vs. placebo trial. At baseline all patients underwent the following tests: 1) anthropometric and metabolic examinations, 2) evaluation of oxidative stress indexes, 3) intracellular magnesium and calcium measurements, and 4) determination of arterial compliance and distensibility. Then, all patients were randomly assigned to Vit.E treatment at a dose of 600 mg/day (Evion Forte; n = 20) or placebo (n = 20) over 8 weeks. At the end of this treatment period, a complete reevaluation of the patients was made. Vit.E treatment was associated with a significant improvement in the percent change in brachial artery diameter (P<0.03) and oxidative stress indexes (P< 0.005). In the Vit.E group, the percent change in brachial artery diameter correlated positively with the percent change in oxidative stress indexes (oxidized/reduced glutathione, Trolox-equivalent antioxidant capacity, thiobarbituric acid reaction products, lipid peroxides) and intracellular cation content (magnesium and calcium). After adjustment for age, sex, body mass index, and wait/hip ratio, all of these correlations remained significant (P<0.03 for all). Furthermore, adjusting for glycosylated hemoglobin, plasma total cholesterol, and homeostatic model index, brachial artery diameter was still correlated with the percent change in oxidative stress indexes (P<0.04 for all). Nevertheless, the relationship between the percent change in brachial artery diameter and oxidative stress indexes was no longer significant after adjustment for intracellular Mg and Ca2+. In conclusion, our study demonstrates that chronic administration of Vit.E improves brachial artery reactivity in patients with type II diabetes mellitus. Such an effect seems mediated by a reduction in oxidative stress and a regulation of intracellular calcium and magnesium contents.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Brachial Plexus / physiopathology*
  • Calcium / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Glutathione / blood
  • Humans
  • Lipid Peroxides / metabolism
  • Magnesium / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances / metabolism
  • Vitamin E / therapeutic use*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Lipid Peroxides
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances
  • Vitamin E
  • Glutathione
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium