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Smoking, Exercise Are Key Factors In Whether Vitamin E Cuts, Or Raises, Pneumonia Risk

February 14, 2011: 09:18 AM EST
Vitamin E supplementation can increase, decrease or have no effect at all on the risk of pneumonia, depending on how much a person smokes or exercises, according to Finnish researchers who examined data from an eight-year clinical trial that concluded in 1993. The importance of vitamin E in protecting humans from infections is not really known, though lab and animal experiments have found some evidence of protection against viral and bacterial infections. The data, collected from 29,133 individuals, found that vitamin E did not affect pneumonia risk overall, but did cut pneumonia risk by 69 percent among people who smoked the least and exercised more. But vitamin E boosted pneumonia risk by 79 percent among those with the highest exposure to smoking and who did not exercise.
Harri Hemilä, et al., "Subgroup analysis of large trials can guide further research: a case study of vitamin E and pneumonia", Clinical Epidemiology, February 14, 2011, © Hemilä and Kaprio
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