Vitamin E supplementation in cystic fibrosis

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 1996 May;22(4):341-5. doi: 10.1097/00005176-199605000-00001.


Vitamin E is an antioxidant and may have a role in the protection of lung tissue against oxidative damage in cystic fibrosis. Previous studies of vitamin E status in cystic fibrosis have used plasma or serum concentrations, which vary with levels of carrier lipoproteins and hence may not reflect the concentration of vitamin E in tissues, where it is found in highest concentration in membranes. Erythrocyte vitamin E concentration has been shown to correlate well with tissue concentrations of the vitamin in animals, but it has not previously been studied in patients with cystic fibrosis. Current guidelines on vitamin supplementation in cystic fibrosis include vitamin E. It is not presently clear which level of supplementation is most appropriate. To address this question, we examined the effect on erythrocyte vitamin E levels of supplementation with either 15 mg or 100 mg per day of vitamin E. Analysis was performed by high performance liquid chromatography before and 1 year after initiation of supplementation in children with cystic fibrosis. Erythrocyte vitamin E concentrations were below the normal range in almost all unsupplemented patients and rose into the normal range with a supplement of 100 mg per day, but not 15 mg per day. This rise was not accounted for by changes in general dietary treatment. We conclude that tissue vitamin E levels are low in patients with cystic fibrosis who do not receive supplements but can be normalized in most children with 100 mg of vitamin E. per day.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Cystic Fibrosis / drug therapy*
  • Diet
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Nutritional Status
  • Regression Analysis
  • Vitamin E / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin E / blood
  • Vitamin E / therapeutic use*


  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamin E