Peyronie’s Disease Treatment and Vitamin E

 Peyronie’s vitamin E dosage

The usual Peyronie’s disease vitamin E dosage advice from a medical doctor will be to “take no more than 400 IU of vitamin E a day.”   Sometimes this number will be doubled to 800 IU daily by some doctors who are more aggressive with their recommendation.  All of this is of valuable interest because vitamin E is the most commonly recommended non-drug Peyronie’s disease treatment, and very often it is the only non-drug Peyronie’s disease treatment that will be discussed.

Since vitamin E is available in both a synthetic form and a naturally occurring organic form, which form you use determines how much you can safely take.  Eight different members of the vitamin E family, four known as tocopherols and four known as tocotrienols, make up the vitamin E family.  A balanced diet – very difficult to achieve these days – contains all eight members of the vitamin E group.  The most widely found member is known as gamma tocopherol, which works to eliminate nitrogen free radicals and is a very effective anti-inflammatory agent.  Tocotrienols are primarily found in the skin and subdermis where they protect against UV and free radical damage.

Most vitamin E supplements contain only alpha tocopherol because it was thought that only this single part of the family of eight is the most important for Peyronies disease treatment. In fact, most vitamin E skin products contain a small amount of synthetic dl-alpha-tocopheryl acetate.  This means that they contain only one of the eight members of the vitamin E family in the less effective synthetic form. Only products which supply the complete vitamin E family and are particularly rich in gamma tocopherol and tocotrienols in their natural and unesterified form contribute to accelerated wound healing and minimized scarring.  This is why PDI is most insistent on men using a vitamin E therapy that is heavily slanted toward gamma tocopherol and all the tocotrienols.

Peyronie’s and vitamin E controversy

Concern about vitamin E safety during the past decade or so has been due solely to bad publicity in this area, which is based on perpetuation of questionable research and misunderstanding about vitamins.   Faulty research reporting and misinterpretation of findings are the same two reasons for the condemnation of vitamin E supplementation.

First, vitamin E confusion arises from a medical reporting that ignores details of a particular vitamin E study reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine.  The problem is gross generalization or not understanding the vitamin E research study.

The Annals of Internal Medicine vitamin E report is found at   http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=718049    Review this information to verify what I report is accurate:

  • Those who took part in this vitamin E research often combined vitamin E with various drugs while they were being studied.  All potential and actual adverse drug reactions to these different drug combinations were not factored in or considered anywhere in the study results.
  • All study participants were elderly people, already being treated for a variety of chronic diseases. The researchers report this as a strong complicating issue, and puts suspicion on all conclusions because these elderly and sick people are far more likely to be taking high doses of vitamin E. They readily admit it is inaccurate to generalize these findings of this group to a healthy, normal, average or younger age group population.
  • This study contained too many variables.  It evaluated many different research studies, all of them used different procedures and protocols such as different vitamin E dosages administered for a widely variable amount of time. They admit they evaluated and combined data from sources that originated and were collected in different ways; they went beyond comparing apples and oranges, they compared grapes and bowling balls.
  • None of the studies reported took the time to report or differentiate chemical immense differences of natural and synthetic vitamin E.
  • Within the scientific community the findings of the original research has been questioned and criticized.

Vitamin E safety

The Annals of Internal Medicine report states vitamin E has a relative risk of 1.05. A relative risk of 1.0 is actually a neutral finding.   This 1.05 risk level is not clinically significant to establish an association between a fatal dose or use high dose vitamin like vitamin E.  Consider that water might have a relative risk of 1.05 in certain situations.

Before taking higher doses of vitamin E for therapeutic benefit, consult a health professional first.  Discuss your health concerns, possible vitamin E side effects, and what dosage of vitamin E might be best for you.  Vitamin E may be deficient in some diets, especially very low fat diets. Most nutrition experts agree that taking vitamin E supplements is safe.

Vitamin E study limitations and problems

Here is a summary of this study presented by those who conducted this study:

The evaluation of high-dosage vitamin E trials in which more than 400 IU of vitamin E was used was often too small to establish accuracy of findings.  This study should not have included elderly patients with one or more chronic diseases, yet they were the primary participants.  It is not clear how to generalize the findings of this study conducted on ill and elderly people to a population of healthy adults.  It is also not clear how to determine the exact dosage at which someone might be at risk of taking too much vitamin E based on this study using ill and elderly people.

In spite of these large obvious flaws and limitations, the conclusion of this study is that any dosage at or above 400 IU daily of vitamin E mayincrease mortality and should be avoided.

Secondly, misunderstanding and confusion exists over the many subtle differences between natural and synthetic vitamin E.  The ultimate error is that natural and synthetic vitamin E will chemically react the same, and that is not true.

Problem #2 – Natural or Synthetic Vitamin E

Natural vitamin E is d-alpha-tocopherol, and synthetic vitamin E is dl-alpha-tocopheryl. Since the names of the chemicals are different you know the chemicals are different.  As the chemicals are different, their reaction is also different in the body.

The Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients reports, “Natural vitamin E supplements outperform synthetic forms, according to a VERIS Research Summary. Results of recent studies suggest that natural vitamin E is more bioavailable and is retained in body tissues significantly longer than synthetic vitamin E. These studies show that previously accepted differences were underestimated and that the bioavailability of natural vitamin E is about twice that of synthetic vitamin E compounds.”

Vegetable oil, specifically soybean oil, is the primary source of naturally occurring vitamin E.  However, synthetic vitamin E is manufactured from petroleum chemicals (yes, the same oil that comes out of the ground, used to make tar, motor oil and gasoline, often linked with cancer).

Doctors are very comfortable and familiar with prescribing synthetic chemicals.  For this reason they are not hesitant to prescribe a synthetic vitamin.  But, the primary difference scientists use to determine toxicity and function within the body is the molecular structure of a compound.

When taking levels of “vitamin E” above 400IU is found to be unsafe, it is because the vitamin E is synthetic and not tolerated well. All biomedical testing proves that within the human structure there is a strong chemical discrimination or preference between natural and synthetic vitamin E.

“Our studies suggest without question that natural vitamin E delivers at least twice the impact as synthetic E,” said Robert Acuff, PhD, Professor and Director, Center for Nutrition Research at East Tennessee State University.  He concludes it is the natural form of vitamin E is obviously the one human tissue was designed to use.  Margaret Traber, Associate Professor at the Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, seems to discriminate between the two forms of vitamin E, reporting that the human body will retain the natural organic form of vitamin E, while rapidly eliminating the synthetic form in the urine and bowel.

It is my opinion that the human organism will tolerate much higher doses of natural vitamin E – provided by Peyronie’s Disease Institute and the Natural Complementary Medicine LLC website – and can tolerate much less synthetic vitamin E available found in lower cost and lower quality products.  For this reason PDI only uses organic and natural vitamin E for use in Peyronie’s disease treatment plans.  Using the kind of vitamin E we have available, many men use levels in the 800IU-1,200IU range while attempting to reduce their Peyronies plaque or scar.

For additional information go to the PDI website at vitamin E.

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