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Nutrition & Weight Control

From the Current Issue

New Research:
Antioxidant Supplements Not Found To Reduce Cardiovascular Disease

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 CVD.

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
August 2004


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Nutrition & Weight Control

The Nutrition & Weight Control White Paper from The Johns Hopkins White Papers series is an annual, in-depth report written by Hopkins physicians.



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