Vitamin E dietary supplementation significantly affects multiple risk factors for cardiovascular disease in baboons

David L. Rainwater, Michael C. Mahaney, John L. VandeBerg, Li Wang Xing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background: Oxidative stress is a widely accepted risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), but the CVD benefit of dietary antioxidants, such as vitamin E, is controversial. Objective: Therefore, we have investigated, in the baboon model, the effects of dietary vitamin E supplementation on risk factors for CVD. Design: Pedigreed baboons (n = 251) were fed 2 atherogenic diets, high in fat and cholesterol, that differed in vitamin E concentrations. After 7 wk on each diet, blood samples were taken, and a panel of CVD risk factor traits (ie, indicators of lipoprotein metabolism and oxidative stress) were measured. Results: Vitamin E supplementation caused significantly higher total antioxidant status (TAS) and lower oxidized LDL as expected. In addition, vitamin E caused 2 paradoxical effects on HDL metabolism: higher apolipoprotein A-I (apo A-I) concentrations and lower HDL sizes. We calculated a difference (Δ) variable for each trait as the value on the high-vitamin E diet minus that on the low-vitamin E diet and determined that several HDL concentration Δ variables were significantly correlated with Δ TAS, but only one, Δ apo A-I, was independently correlated. Genetic analyses showed that 2 Δ variables, Δ paraoxonase and Δ HDL2, were significantly heritable, but that neither Δ TAS nor Δ apo A-I were heritable. Conclusions: Thus, our data show that dietary vitamin E improves TAS and LDL quality. They also show 2 apparently paradoxical effects on HDL metabolism: lower HDL2, which is mediated by genes, and higher apo A-I, which is not. These effects have contrasting associations with CVD risk and may help account for the mixed results from clinical trials of dietary vitamin E.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-603
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Antioxidants
  • Apo A-I
  • Apolipoprotein A-I
  • Baboons
  • HDL
  • High-density lipoprotein
  • Paraoxonase
  • Vitamin E

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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