September 06, 2019
Health officials investigating the various severe lung disease cases tied to vaping e-cigarettes have honed in on a form of vitamin E.
Vitamin E acetate was found in samples of marijuana products vaped by many of the patients, according to news reports. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a possible 450 cases reported in 33 states and one U.S. territory.
So just what is vitamin E acetate?
Vitamin E acetate is commonly found in skin care products and dietary supplements. It is also known as Alpha-tocopheryl acetate, tocopheryl acetate and tocopherol acetate.
Vitamin E has antioxidant properties that help protect the body's cells against the effects of free radicals, which are produced when the body converts food into energy, according to the Mayo Clinic. Free radicals, which play a role in heart disease and cancer, also are produced when the body is exposed to smoke or radiation.
It is not known to cause harm when ingested as a vitamin supplement or applied to the skin, according to the New York Health Department.
The department found vitamin E acetate present in nearly every marijuana product sample collected from 34 patients who used at least one cannabis-containing vape product before falling ill.
The oil-like properties of vitamin E acetate could be associated with the symptoms observed in many of the severe lung illness cases tied to vaping, the department said. An investigation is underway.
The CDC said Friday, however, that "no one device, product or substance has been linked to all cases."
Studies showing the benefits of vitamin E acetate are limited, according to Healthline.
Vitamin E acetate usually needs to be combined with other vitamins or minerals to provide any benefits. Combining vitamin E acetate with vitamin C may prevent skin damage caused by ultraviolet rays, but its effectiveness in cosmetic products appear to be limited because it isn't effectively broken down by the skin.
There are mixed results on the benefits of taking vitamin E supplements for coronary heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's disease.