Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Antioxidants Don't Prevent Cardiac Disease
Tip to EverythingHealth readers: Quit wasting your money on "antioxidants". The evidence is clear that Vitamin E, B-vitamins and Folic Acid do not prevent heart attack or stroke.
It's easy to see why there was a buzz about these antioxidants and why millions of people have spent $billions of dollars on these vitamins. The LDL (bad) particle of cholesterol needs to be "oxidized" to be taken up into the artery wall. People got interested in Vitamin E, which circulates in the LDL particle and thought it might be protective against oxidation. Beta Carotene also circulates so people thought it might prevent cancer and heart disease.
That lead to numerous prospective, randomized trials in both men and women in high risk and low risk populations. They took Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and beta carotene alone and in combination. There were huge trials over 5 years that showed NO BENEFIT.
We also got interested in homocysteine because high levels in the blood were associated with vascular disease. We thought that lowering homocysteine would prevent disease. B vitamins lower homocysteine so people started taking B vitamins and folic acid as a way to prevent disease. There have been at least 7 good trials that show NO BENEFIT whatsoever from taking these vitamins compared to placebo.
We can put this issue to rest now. Get vitamins from a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables. Go to farmers markets and buy organic when possible. Aim for 5 fruits and vegies a day. Save your money that you would spend on supplements. Use that money for organic foods.
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 8:29 AM