Do vitamin E supplements in diets for laboratory animals jeopardize findings in animal models of disease?

Free Radic Biol Med. 1999 Feb;26(3-4):472-81. doi: 10.1016/s0891-5849(98)00219-6.


Vitamin E has been supplemented to the diets of farm animals to improve fertility, health, growth rates and quality of animal products. Because of the positive experience obtained in farm animals, vitamin E has been added in increasing amounts to the diets of laboratory animals. Today, vitamin E levels in standard rodent maintenance diets range from 30 mg/kg (France, United States), 90-120 mg/kg (Netherlands, United Kingdom) to as much as 200 mg/kg (Germany). While increasing fertility and health of laboratory animals, these vitamin E supplements affect diverse pathophysiological conditions and thus the outcome of animal models of disease. Because of the large variability of vitamin E levels between laboratories within and between different countries, results obtained in established animal models may no longer be comparable and/or reproducible. Researchers should be aware of these vitamin E supplements and carefully control for potential effects in their respective animal models that involve--or may involve--the generation of reactive oxygen species.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Laboratory
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Vitamin E / pharmacology*


  • Vitamin E