Some have incorrectly used these data to imply that the higher level represented a toxic effect. What it was actually reflecting was the fact that some very ill persons began taking a large amount of vitamin E to help fight their diseases. Typically, persons in apparent good health usually decide to take about 400 IU of vitamin E daily if they wish its protection against free radicals. If people have a need for extra action from vitamin E, such as to prevent hot flashes during menopause or to relieve intermittent claudication, they often take about 600-800 IU daily. If they are recovering from a heart attack or have been diagnosed with cancer, they often start with 1,000- 1,200 IU daily. Thus, those who are taking more than 1,000 IU of vitamin E daily are often those already suffering from life-shortening diseases.
Still, the 1,000 IU per day level produced greater health and longevity than found in the control group not taking vitamin E supplements. The proportion that died among those taking more than 1,000 IU daily was 0.37, compared to the higher portion of 0.43 among those taking no vitamin E supplements.