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Antioxidants Don’t Lower Heart Risk

Study Examines Vitamins C, E, Beta-Carotene for Preventing Heart Attack, Stroke

Healthy Diet Lowers Risk

While the intervention studies examining antioxidant supplements for protection against heart attacks and strokes have proven disappointing, study after study has also shown that eating a nutrient-rich diet can lower risk, says Lichtenstein, who is a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association.

“Isolating individual components of a healthy diet hasn’t worked, but it does appear that a diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is protective,” she says.

Study co-author JoAnn Manson, MD, who is chief of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, agrees.

“This research underscores the importance of focusing on proven methods for preventing cardiovascular disease, including physical activity, healthy diet, controlling high blood pressure and high cholesterol, maintaining healthy weight, and avoiding tobacco,” she says in a news release.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), a supplement industry trade group, states in an email to WebMD that this study contradicts several recent studies of antioxidant supplements, which showed that antioxidants and vitamin E may adversely affect mortality.

This study showed that there was no overall effect on mortality, the CRN states.

"This study is an interesting addition to the current scientific literature, and more research should be done, particularly to detect the effects of antioxidants on longer latency diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer,” Andrew Shao, PhD, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs for the CRN, says in the email.

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