Researchers at UC Berkeley discovered vitamin E in 1922, and since then countless studies have been done on this still mysterious substance. Because its chief function seems to be as an antioxidant , neutralizing potentially harmful free radicals in the body, vitamin E became a superstar as the antioxidant theory of disease gained wider and wider attention. Would high doses of supplemental vitamin E prove to be the key to good health—preventing cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s, as well as producing glowing skin, good eyesight and other benefits? Studies have yielded contradictory findings, but so far the answer seems to be no. People, including researchers, hold markedly different beliefs about vitamin E supplements, ranging from “protective” to “useless” to “harmful.” Some doctors take vitamin E, but don’t recommend it for their patients. Some do the reverse. Some experts think there have been too many vitamin E studies and say it’s time to quit expecting health benefits. Others say nearly all the research has been flawed and recommend starting afresh using even higher doses of vitamin E or different forms of it. Early studies (mostly observational and not always well-designed) found a benefit, especially for preventing heart disease, while later studies (many of them well-designed clinical trials) have not. Indeed, a few recent studies suggested that vitamin E supplements might actually be harmful. But the now-discredited claims for vitamin E persist widely on the Internet and elsewhere, and even some scientists continue to believe them. 5 Vitamin E Facts 5 Vitamin E Facts Did you know that vitamin E exists naturally in eight forms? That deficiencies of the nutrient are largely unknown? Learn some other fascinating facts about this versatile vitamin.