One factor that influences heart disease is the formation of blood clots, which can embolize, or travel through the blood stream, to become lodged in areas such as the heart, lungs and brain, often with fatal results. Vitamin E helps regulate the formation of blood clots, and acts as a blood thinner.
There are eight different forms of vitamin E, all of which are antioxidants, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Four of these are called tocopherols and the other four are tocotrienols. Your body uses mainly alpha-tocopherol, and it is this form of vitamin E that is found throughout your body in your blood and organ tissues.
Effects of Vitamin E
Vitamin E mainly functions as an antioxidant, which means it helps to neutralize unstable molecules in your body called free radicals. Free radicals are created by exposure to toxins and are also formed through the normal processes of metabolism by which your body creates energy. When free radicals interact with fats in your body, they cause oxidation to occur -- a process that destroys fat cells that are crucial to forming cell membranes.
Several cardiovascular related functions have been linked to vitamin E, and that’s where the nutrient’s blood-thinning properties come into play. Alpha-tocopherol vitamin E can decrease the ability of blood platelets to clump together and form clots. Additionally, it can cause your blood vessels to expand, allowing greater blood volume to pass through.
The Office of Dietary Supplements states that adults should consume 15 milligrams of alpha-tocopherol vitamin E daily. The highest safe dosage for adults is 1,000 milligrams per day, taking more than that could thin your blood too much and cause bleeding problems.
If you have cardiovascular disease, your doctor may prescribe drugs that can decrease platelet clumping and decrease your risk of blood clots. Warfarin, heparin, aspirin and fish oil can all decrease clotting. If you are taking any of these substances to thin your blood, adding high dosages of vitamin E may increase your risk of bleeding. If you are taking any of these medications for blood clotting, consult your doctor before taking vitamin E.