Objective: The glycation of proteins and elevated triglyceride (TG) levels are two of the major risk factors in the development of complications of diabetes. Previous studies have found some beneficial effects of supplementation of pharmacological doses (900-2000 IU/day) of vitamin E in Type II diabetic patients. This study examined whether supplementation with a modest dose of vitamin E (100 IU/day) had any effect on blood glucose, glycated hemoglobin (GHb), TG or red cell counts in Type I diabetic patients.
Methods: 35 diabetic patients were supplemented with either DL-alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) capsules (orally, 100 IU/day) or a placebo for 3 months in a double-blind clinical trial. Fasting blood was collected from each diabetic patient before and after vitamin E or placebo supplementation. Data were analyzed using paired "t" tests and the Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test.
Results: Levels of GHb (mean +/- SEM) were 11.5 +/- 0.4 and 12.8 +/- 0.9% (p < 0.05); glucose, 8.8 +/- 1.2 and 11.6 +/- 1.3 mM; and TG, 2.2 +/- 0.2 and 2.9 +/- 0.3 mM (p < 0.03) after vitamin E supplementation versus before supplementation. There were no differences in these parameters after supplementation with the placebo. There was no effect on blood RBC, hematocrit, and hemoglobin levels after supplementation of vitamin E or the placebo. There were no differences in ages and duration of diabetes between placebo and vitamin E-supplemented groups.
Conclusions: This study suggests that modest vitamin E supplementation (100 IU/day) can significantly lower blood GHb and TG levels and does not have any effect on red cell indices in Type I diabetic patients.