Antioxidant Supplements Not Found To Reduce
In a recent advisory, the American Heart Association (AHA) did
not recommend the use of antioxidant vitamin supplements to prevent
or treat cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Some observational studies have found that people who take antioxidant
supplements are less likely to develop CVD than those who don’t,
but such findings may simply reflect healthier lifestyles among
people who take vitamins. Only randomized clinical trials are
able to establish cause-and-effect relationships.
The review showed that “clinical trials have failed to
demonstrate a beneficial effect of antioxidant supplements on
CVD morbidity and mortality.” In fact, several studies
found increased rates of death and coronary heart disease in
people given vitamin supplements. AHA reviewers support additional
research to resolve the discrepancy between observational studies
and clinical trials.
Instead of taking supplements, the AHA advises people to obtain
antioxidants by eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole
grains, and nuts—a measure proven to reduce the risk of
The AHA consultants reviewed 20 randomized clinical trials that
examined the effects of vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and
antioxidant supplements containing more than one antioxidant
on the risk of CVD. Most of the study participants had already
had a heart attack or were at elevated risk for CVD.
Volume 110, page 637