Vitamin E

A few years ago, a visiting speaker at our weekly departmental presentation praised the virtues of vitamin E as a potential treatment for several neurologic and psychiatric disorders, and as a general antiaging therapy. At the end of his talk, Dr. Jack Gorman, one of my colleagues who likes to occupy the front row, rose to his full height of six feet three inches and asked the speaker how much vitamin E he took daily. The speaker turned the question around and asked Jack how much he took daily. Jack immediately replied, "Four hundred international units."Jack is certainly not alone in this; many physicians, including yours truly, ingest a vitamin E capsule daily. In fact, the average daily dose of vitamin E has likely risen from 400 to 800 international units (IUs) daily among physicians, attesting to their growing faith in the antiaging properties of vitamin E.

Physicians Who Take Vitamin E

Doctors are notoriously bad patients, but they are often ahead of the curve when it comes to preserving their own health, as many are now doing with vitamin E. Remember how common it was for doctors to smoke in the 1950s and 1960s? At that time, many doctors were regular smokers in the United States, with even higher numbers in most other countries. But once the findings emerged on the links between smoking and both lung cancer and heart disease, many doctors quit smoking. Nowadays, barely 10 percent of physicians are regular smokers, the lowest proportion among the major professions. Similarly, while the number of overweight people keeps ballooning in the United States, physicians have reduced their own dietary intake of saturated fats. Physicians have finally become good at following their own advice, and statistics show that on average they live nearly five years longer than the rest of the population, despite constant exposure to infections and other diseases, long working hours, and high stress levels.

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