Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Heart Disease Health Center

Font Size

Antioxidant Supplements May Not Help Heart

Study Recommends Nutritious Diet Instead of Supplementation

WebMD Health News

Aug. 2, 2004 - Want to protect your heart from cardiovascular disease? Taking antioxidant supplements doesn't appear to be the answer, according to a new study from the American Heart Association (AHA).

"At this time, the scientific data do not justify the use of antioxidant vitamin supplements for cardiovascular disease risk reduction," say the study's authors in Circulation, published by the AHA.

After reviewing studies performed between 1994 and 2002, the researchers concluded that antioxidant supplements largely had no beneficial effect on cardiovascular health. Overall, the studies did not demonstrate a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease in patients taking antioxidant supplements.

The researchers looked at studies involving mostly participants who had suffered a heart attack or were at high risk for cardiovascular disease; some were taking drugs to treat abnormal cholesterol and blood-fat levels and high blood pressure. However, some studies included healthy subjects.

The authors looked at studies on various doses of vitamin E, beta-carotene, antioxidant "cocktails," combination supplements of vitamins E and C, and natural and synthetic vitamins.

Not Enough Evidence

They say the studies don't necessarily show antioxidant supplements to be useless -- only that there appears to be insufficient scientific evidence to show their effectiveness against heart disease. "We recommend that antioxidant research continue," say the study's authors.

Meanwhile, there is always the original way to get your antioxidants. "At this time, the scientific evidence supports recommending consumption of a diet high in food sources of antioxidants and other cardioprotective nutrients, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts, instead of antioxidant supplements to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease," say the authors.

Don't forget the other essentials in safeguarding your heart. "Achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight and being physically active are important to reduce cardiovascular disease risk," says the study's lead researcher, Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, in a news release. Kris-Etherton is professor of nutrition at Pennsylvania State University.

Today on WebMD

x-ray of human heart
A visual guide.
atrial fibrillation
Symptoms and causes.
heart rate graph
10 things to never do.
heart rate
Get the facts.
empty football helmet
red wine
eating blueberries
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Inside A Heart Attack
Omega 3 Sources
Salt Shockers
lowering blood pressure