For some reason, conventional medicine would have you believe that Warfarin (Coumadin) is the better and safer choice over Vitamin E therapy for the prevention of strokes. Unfortunately, there simply aren’t many medical doctors who even bother to read the research supporting the efficacy of Vitamin E over the widely prescribed pharmaceutical Coumadin. Instead, they continue to stay true to their pharmaceutical-company allegiances, despite the hundreds of thousands of deaths that occur yearly because of it.
Oddly, even if a doctor is “skeptical” about Vitamin E therapy, there a no known adverse effects in short-term treatment, and they could simply monitor the patient’s blood via Pro time (Hematology) tests.
Vitamin E Therapy
When used in higher dosages (4000 IU or less), natural Vitamin E potentiates the effects of Coumadin (Warfarin), making Vitamin E a safe substitute in place of the drug.
I have personally found this to be true. One of my patients was using such a dosage. His medical doctor wanted to put him on Coumadin, and was shocked when the hematology tests appeared as though he was already taking drug! When his medical doctor found out that Vitamin E had produced the exact same results he wanted to achieve with the Coumadin, he was also reported shocked. After all, how could an inexpensive little vitamin do the job of a pharmaceutical drug?
This story isn’t simply a fluke. There are many stories just like this one.
Despite this, recent warnings that “Vitamin E may cause death” has been reiterated multiple times all over the internet and cable news channels — all based from this one study. Although the study notes that “experimental models and observational studies suggest that vitamin E supplementation may prevent cardiovascular disease” and recognizes that vitamin E supplementation showed no “statistically significant increases in mortality”, the study still concludes that Vitamin “may increase all-cause mortality and should be avoided”.
What they don’t tell you is that the study tracked the use of synthetic Vitamin E and not natural Vitamin E.
It can’t be stressed enough – it is important that the Vitamin E used in this kind of therapy must be natural Vitamin E and not synthetic! The difference is more than significant.
“Both natural source vitamin E and synthetic vitamin E are absorbed well into the body, however after absorption, a protein in the liver recognizes only the natural forms, such as d-alpha-tocopherol. As a result, the unrecognized forms of synthetic Vitamin E are preferentially excreted.
“The body’s ability to recognize only the natural form of Vitamin E gives natural source d-alpha-tocopherol a bioavailability of approximately twice that of the synthetic form. To compensate for the lower retention of synthetic Vitamin E, a person would have to ingest twice the amount of synthetic Vitamin E (by weight) to match the bioequivalence of the natural form.” ~ Source
The the question to ask is — why are all the studies that disprove this one study ignored? Are we really to believe that we should be scared of Vitamin E and that Coumadin safe?
Coumadin’s Safety Record
Let’s look at the “safety” record of Coumadin. In a study published in the medical journal ‘Neurology’, entitled “Warfarin Use Leads to Larger Intracerebral Hematomas”, University of Cincinnati researchers headed by Matthew Flaherty (a UC neurologist) concluded that bleeding in the brain, or bleeding strokes, increased five-fold among people who took warfarin/Coumadin over a period of 12 months (2005), and increased eighteen-fold for those over the age of 80.
More recently, Coumadin has been assigned a Black Box Drug Warning by the FDA. What does that mean exactly? A Black box warning means that medical studies strongly indicate that a drug carries a significant risk of serious and/or life-threatening adverse effects. The FDA had Bristol-Myers Squibb strengthen its USA label for Warfarin (Coumadin) to include a, “black-box warning about the risk for major or fatal bleeding.”
The Institute for Safe Medication Practices and the Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, conducted a longitudinal Adverse Events Reporting System Review of the U.S. FDA’s most dangerous drugs in 2007. The study concluded that Coumadin is one of the most dangerous drugs on the market today with the most serious outcomes. More than 100,000 deaths or disabilities resulted. Please go to Coumadin at in the Askapatient database to read the actual horror stories of people who have taken Coumadin. I guarantee you will be shocked!
Yet, oddly enough, it’s Vitamin E that continues to get all the bad publicity? And I say “oddly” because there hasn’t been single documented death due to high dose Vitamin E therapy.
So, what is behind the warnings of mortality when the science indicates it’s not vitamin E causing deaths, but Coumadin?
For more information, I encourage you to you read Vitamin E: The True Cost of Cynicism.
Please note: It is important to note that for people taking ‘blood-thinning’ drugs, such as Coumadin, it is important to talk to a knowledgeable doctor before switching to Vitamin E therapy.
- Warfarin use leads to larger intracerebral hematomas – http://www.neurology.org/content/71/14/1084
- Are Warfarin Side Effects Dangerous? – http://home.comcast.net/~pobrien48/are_warfarin_side_effects_danger.htm
- Blood-thinning drug warfarin may raise risk of death from brain haemorrhage – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/3102806/Blood-thinning-drug-warfarin-may-raise-risk-of-death-from-brain-haemorrhage.html
- Coumadin is Poisoning the Elderly – http://www.newswithviews.com/Richards/byron183.htm
- Coumadin: Clinical Pharmacology – http://www.rxlist.com/coumadin-drug/clinical-pharmacology.htm
- New Alternatives to Coumadin (warfarin) to Reduce the Risk of Stroke in the Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation – http://www.cormedicalgroup.com/from-the-doctors-desk-new-alternatives-to-coumadin-for-atrial-fibrillation-2013
- Natural vs. Synthetic: Here is the Difference – http://www.adm.com/en-US/products/Documents/ADM-Natural-vs-Synthetic-Vitamin-E.pdf
- Synthetic as compared with natural-source vitamin E is preferentially excreted as alpha-CEHC in human urine: studies using deuterated alpha-tocopheryl acetates. FEBS Lett. 1998;437:145-148.
Author: Dr. Michelle Kmiec