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Health Team

Antioxidant vitamins may not be beneficial

Posted April 29, 2008

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— Antioxidant vitamins are thought to undo damage done to the body, but a new study suggests that some of these pills might actually cut years off of a person’s life.

“These vitamins are certainly needed by the body. The issue is whether we take too much of them they actually start damaging how the body works,” said research publisher Mike Clarke.

After a review of more than 50 studies, researchers in Copenhagen, Denmark, found that healthy people who take antioxidant supplements like vitamin A and E actually showed a higher risk of early death.

“There is no benefit in taking megadoses, and certainly from this research, big doses could be doing you harm,” said nutrition scientist Bridgett Aisbitt.

Similarly, a recent study by Harvard University found there was little benefit from taking multivitamins. The researchers said a healthy diet is still the best source of vitamins.

British vitamin-makers responded with new research calling the Danish antioxidant report "flawed."

Some consumers believe antioxidants offer a real benefit.

“They make me feel better. I have more energy when I take them regularly, and I feel sharper,” said Kate Barton.

Antioxidants can be also found in a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Some foods stand out as rich sources, including blueberries, cranberries, pecans, walnuts and russet potatoes.

Before starting a daily dose of antioxidant pills, it is advised to check with a doctor.

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  • zProt May 2, 2008

    "Where do I start? First, commercially grown food does not contain the same level of nutrients as garden grown food. It would be very difficult to get the proper levels of nutrients from just a "balanced diet". In fact, those who don't supplement are actually deficient in some vitamins such as E."

    Well, I can agree that modern commercially grown produce is less nutritious than organically-sustainably grown (I believe this has been proven time and again), but I disagree that getting enough nutrition from eating whole healthy foods is a problem. Just cut the empty carbs, eat plenty of protein and fats, get out into the sunshine, and you probably get more nutrition than you need.

    Another thing is that there is an ever-increasing trend indicating that synthetic vitamins are actually harmful to the body. Remember the big push on beta carotine? -- It's been proven that it actually INCREASES your chance of cancer when taken in pill form. However, you can't overdose on it via whole foods.

  • DELL3915 May 1, 2008

    If they ever come out and say "sorry, we were wrong, cigarettes are actually very good for you", and I find out I quit 10 years ago for nothing...somebody is going to pay. Talk about pain and suffering!!

  • paddie May 1, 2008

    This just in! Big Macs lower chloresterol! I wish.....:)

  • doodad Apr 30, 2008

    Eat as many raw fruits and vegetables as possible. Cooking them is what removes most of the beneficial nutrients. Eat plenty of whole grains, beef, eggs and whole milk and butter as well.

  • doodad Apr 30, 2008

    Harrison, how do you estimate that commercially grown food does not contain the same nutrients as garden grown foods?

    Most commercially grown produce is grown on black plastic where it is watered along with water soluble vitamins and micronutrients. The vitamin and mineral content would vary depending on the amount of time from harvest to consumption, hence you would be correct if a tomato was plucked from the vine (living food)and immediately eaten VS grown, picked green, and refrigerated up until the point of sale. Most Farmer's Market produce is grown on black plastic.

  • bs101fly Apr 30, 2008

    hey look, something else the Gov't and the FDA tells us is good for us, a must do, safe and then like EVERY FLIPPIN' THING else they come out years later and say ooopps, we're dumb, we think the opposite now!!!! Stupidity at its finest!!!

  • Harrison Bergeron Apr 30, 2008

    Where do I start? First, commercially grown food does not contain the same level of nutrients as garden grown food. It would be very difficult to get the proper levels of nutrients from just a "balanced diet". In fact, those who don't supplement are actually deficient in some vitamins such as E.

    Second, this meta-analysis is a joke. It ignored 90% of the studies that measured vitamin effects and all studies where there were no mortalities (ignored 750 out of 815 trials). It used dosages either ridiculously low or absurdly high. It used an improper statistical measurement that discounted "random effect" model, and finally, it used dosage periods of anywhere from 1 dose to 28 days to 29 years.

    This is junk science at its worst.

  • Huey Apr 30, 2008

    Am expecting to hear one day on the news - "Everything your
    doctors ever told you is false!" They had me on Vit E but took me off cause found it didn't help. Am still on C and mulits. Lately they added fish oil. Sometimes I feel like a lab rat. If they come at me with one of those leaches or a bag of garlic
    to hang around my neck I'm gonna run!

  • allison842 Apr 30, 2008

    I take a multivitamin because I am a very PICKY eater! I'm not real big on the green stuff, and I'm allergic to lettuce. At least, my taste buds are.

  • hi_i_am_wade Apr 30, 2008

    The best vitamin supplement is a balanced diet. I've found that out. That means eating lots of vegetables and some meat. It also means avoid fast food and taking the time to make a healthy dinner.

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