Vitamin E, which you might be ingesting with your meals or taking as a supplement, is an antioxidant, meaning it helps protect your cells from toxic environmental pollutants and the potentially damaging side effects of metabolism. Aspirin, which your health care provider might recommend to help you limit your risk for heart attacks or strokes, is categorized as a drug. For any supplement you take, you should check with your doctor about possible harmful interactions with drugs you might be taking, including aspirin.
Risks of Taking Vitamin E and Aspirin Together
According to Drugs.com, you need to talk to your physician about using supplemental vitamin E at doses greater than 400 units per day if you’re taking antiplatelet or anticoagulant medications, or if you are vitamin K deficient, because such a dose of vitamin E could increase your risk for bleeding. Low-dose aspirin is an antiplatelet drug, while warfarin, also known as Coumadin, is an anticoagulant. Some signs you might have a bleeding problem from taking both aspirin and vitamin E supplements are nosebleeds, bleeding gums, blood in your urine or stool, difficulty healing from a cut, pain, swelling, headache and dizziness.
Benefits of Combining Vitamin E and Aspirin
Both low-dose aspirin and moderate amounts of vitamin E have benefits separately and only rarely cause problems if taken at the same time. One benefit of combining the two was reported in 2005 in the journal “Neuroscience.” In a study, researchers demonstrated that guinea pigs given aspirin and vitamin E as long as three days after high levels of noise exposure were able to mitigate their hearing loss and hair cell damage.
Vitamin E, Aspirin and Cardiovascular Disease
A study reported in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in 1995 found that participants who took both vitamin E and aspirin had fewer stroke-like incidents than participants who took aspirin alone. However, other studies have looked only at the effects of vitamin E and aspirin separately and not in combination, so, as of 2007, the American Heart Association, or AHA, no longer recommends vitamin E supplements as a preventative for heart disease. The organization does, however, continue to recommend daily low-dose aspirin use for those who are at risk of heart disease.
Vitamin E Basics
Vitamin E comes in many forms but it’s only the alpha-tocopherol form that really benefits your health. The Office of Dietary Supplements, or ODS, lists 15 mg — or 22.4 IU — per day as the recommended dietary allowance for adults. Some good food sources of vitamin E are nuts, such as hazelnuts, peanuts and almonds; seeds, including sunflower seeds; vegetable oils, such as sunflower and safflower oils; and leafy green vegetables like spinach.
Aspirin Risks and Benefits
Aspirin has long been used as a pain reliever, though it has a number of potential side effects, including nausea, vomiting, stomachache and heartburn. If you are at risk for heart disease or if already have had a heart attack, the AHA recommends talking to your doctor about taking daily doses of up to 325 mg of aspirin. Low-dose aspirin also might help prevent strokes by keeping the platelets in your blood from being too sticky, leading to clogging of your arteries.
- “Linus Pauling Institute”; Vitamin E; Jane Higdon, Ph.D., et al; June 2008
- Drugs.com: Drug Interactions between Aspirin Low Strength and Vitamin E
- “Neuroscience;” Post-exposure treatment attenuates noise-induced hearing loss; D. Yamashita; 2005
- “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition”; Vitamin E plus aspirin compared with aspirin alone in patients with transient ischemic attacks; Steiner M, et al; Dec 1995
- “American Heart Association”; Update gives definitive answers on HRT, aspirin, supplements; Feb 2007
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin E