Vitamin e intake, α-tocopherol levels and pulmonary function in children and adolescents with cystic fibrosis

Janna W. Woestenenk*, Nancy Broos, Rebecca Stellato, Hubertus G M Arets, Cornelis K. Van Der Ent, Roderick H J Houwen, HGM Arets

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Pancreatic insufficiency cystic fibrosis (CF) patients receive vitamin E supplementation according to CF-specific recommendations in order to prevent deficiencies. It has been suggested that higher serum α-tocopherol levels could have protective effects on pulmonary function (PF) in patients with CF. Whether current recommendations are indeed optimal for preventing deficiency and whether vitamin E has therapeutic benefits are subjects of debate. Therefore, we studied vitamin E intake as well as the long-term effects of vitamin E intake, the coefficient of fat absorption (CFA) and IgG on α-tocopherol levels. We also examined the long-term effects of serum α-tocopherol and serum IgG on forced expiratory volume in 1 s expressed as percentage of predicted (FEV1% pred.) in paediatric CF patients during a 7-year follow-up period. We found that CF patients failed to meet the CF-specific vitamin E recommendations, but serum α-tocopherol below the 2·5th percentile was found in only twenty-three of the 1022 measurements (2 %). Furthermore, no clear effect of vitamin E intake or the CFA on serum α-tocopherol was found (both P≥ 0·103). FEV1% pred. was longitudinally inversely associated with age (P< 0·001) and serum IgG (P= 0·003), but it was not related to serum α-tocopherol levels. We concluded that in the present large sample of children and adolescents with CF, vitamin E intake was lower than recommended, but serum α-tocopherol deficiency was rare. We found no evidence that higher serum α-tocopherol levels had protective effects on PF. Adjustment of the recommendations to the real-life intake of these patients may be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1096-1101
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2015


  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Development
  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Diet
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Netherlands
  • Patient Compliance
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Respiratory System
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin E Deficiency
  • alpha-Tocopherol


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