Research: MANZELLA and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 68


MANZELLA and colleagues, Department of Geriatric Medicine and Metabolic Diseases, Second University of Naples, Italy, investigated the possible effects of vitamin E supplementation on the cardiac autonomic nervous system in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) and cardiac autonomic neuropathy .


T2D is associated with elevated oxidative stress and declines in antioxidant defence . In T2D, there is also an imbalance in the ratio of cardiac sympathetic to parasympathetic autonomic tone . Antioxidants, particularly vitamin E, might benefit the cardiac autonomic nervous system by decreasing oxidative stress.


In this double-blind, randomised, controlled trial, 50 patients with T2D received either vitamin E (600 mg/day) or placebo for 4 months . Cardiac autonomic function was assessed by analysis of heart rate variability (HRV) .


Patients in the vitamin E group showed decreases in levels of glycated haemoglobin, plasma insulin, norepinephrine and epinephrine; a lower homeostasis model assessment (HMA) index; improved indices of oxidative stress; increases in the R-R interval, total power and the high-frequency component (HF) of HRV ; and decreases in the low-frequency (LF) component of HRV and the ratio of LF to HF. The change in plasma vitamin E concentration correlated with the change in LF/HF ratio (r=-0.43) independently of changes in the HMA index and plasma catecholamine concentrations.



Manzella D et al. Chronic administration of pharmacologic doses of vitamin E improves the cardiac autonomic nervous system in patients with type 2 diabetes. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 73 (6): 1052-7. Jun 2001.

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