Background: Vitamin E supplementation is widely used in clinical practice for the prevention and treatment of different medical conditions. Evidence from basic science studies suggests that vitamin E may reduce immune allergic responses. However, only a few clinical studies of the effect of vitamin E on allergic conditions have been performed in patients with atopic dermatitis and asthma, and none have been performed in patients with allergic rhinitis.
Objective: To determine the effect of high-dose vitamin E supplementation in combination with the usual ("real-life") treatment on the symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis during the pollen season.
Methods: In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study, 112 patients with documented hay fever received either vitamin E (800 mg/d) or placebo in addition to their regular antiallergic treatment during the pollen season. Patients recorded their daily nasal and eye symptoms and their daily need for other medications to control allergic symptoms.
Results: Although no effect was observed on ocular symptoms, nasal symptom scores were lower in patients who received vitamin E supplementation during the hay fever season. However, there was no reduction in the percentage of days with serious symptoms or in the percentage of days that medications were used to control allergic symptoms during the pollen season.
Conclusions: Vitamin E supplementation may be a valuable addition to the treatment of patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis. However, further clinical and basic science studies are needed to determine its real value.