ANTIOXIDANTS

OTHER NAME(S):

Antioxidant Agents, Antioxidant Supplements, Antioxidant Therapy, Antioxidant Vitamins, Dietary Antioxidants, Oxidation Inhibitor.

Overview

Overview Information

Antioxidants are ingredients thought to reduce the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are substances that cause oxidative stress, which may contribute to aging and certain diseases. Taking antioxidants is thought to counteract these effects.

Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants. Eating more fruits and vegetables usually has benefit for disease. But there's limited evidence to know whether antioxidant supplements help to prevent disease.

Antioxidants don't seem to help with various cancers or heart disease. Antioxidants have been tried for asthma, kidney disease in people with diabetes, and many other conditions, but there is no good evidence to support these uses.

How does it work?

Antioxidants are chemicals that seem to reduce "oxidative stress." Oxidative stress is thought to worsen many different conditions such as cancer and heart disease.
Uses

Uses & Effectiveness?

Possibly Ineffective for

  • Bladder cancer. Taking antioxidants doesn't seem to reduce the risk of bladder cancer.
  • Cancer. Taking antioxidants doesn't seem to prevent cancer or death from cancer.
  • Cataracts. Taking antioxidants for up to 8 years doesn't seem reduce the risk of cataracts or cataract surgery.
  • Colon cancer, rectal cancer. Taking antioxidants doesn't seem to reduce the risk of colon or rectal cancer.
  • Heart disease. Antioxidant-containing fruits and vegetables have been linked with a lower risk of death in people with heart disease. But taking antioxidant supplements doesn't seem to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, or heart death in people with heart disease.
  • Prostate cancer. Taking antioxidants doesn't seem to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
  • Skin cancer. Taking antioxidants doesn't seem to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Insufficient Evidence for

  • An eye disease that leads to vision loss in older adults (age-related macular degeneration or AMD). Antioxidants don't seem to prevent AMD. But certain combinations of antioxidants might help prevent AMD from getting worse.
  • Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS). Early research shows that antioxidant supplements don't improve survival in people with ALS.
  • Asthma. People who get lower amounts of antioxidant vitamins in their diet seem to have a greater risk of asthma.
  • Cancer of the cervix. People who get more antioxidants from their diet or supplements seem to have a lower risk of cervical cancer.
  • Cystic fibrosis. In general, antioxidant vitamins don't seem to improve lung function in people with cystic fibrosis. But the antioxidant glutathione might have some benefit.
  • Kidney damage in people with diabetes (diabetic nephropathy). Antioxidants might improve some markers of kidney disease in people with diabetes. But they don't seem to affect its progression.
  • Conditions in a man that prevent him from getting a woman pregnant within a year of trying to conceive (male infertility). Antioxidants don't seem to improve pregnancy rates in men that have received a surgery called varicocelectomy.
  • Build up of fat in the liver in people who drink little or no alcohol (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD). It's unclear if antioxidants are beneficial in people with NAFLD.
  • Death from any cause. There is mixed evidence about the effects of antioxidant supplementation on death from any cause.
  • Swelling (inflammation) of the pancreas (pancreatitis). Antioxidants might reduce hospital stay in acute pancreatitis. Antioxidants might also reduce pain in chronic pancreatitis. But they don't seem to prevent complications of pancreatitis.
  • Recovery after surgery. Research shows that certain antioxidants seem to reduce irregular heart beat and hospital stay after heart surgery.
  • A pregnancy complication marked by high blood pressure and protein in the urine (pre-eclampsia). Antioxidants don't seem to prevent pre-eclampsia in pregnant women.
  • Schizophrenia. Giving antioxidants with conventional medicine doesn't seem to further improve overall symptoms in people with schizophrenia.
Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Antioxidants are LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth appropriate amounts. Certain antioxidants are POSSIBLY UNSAFE when used in large doses. Antioxidants like beta-carotene and vitamin E can cause serious adverse events when used in large doses. See specific ingredients for more detailed safety information.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy: Antioxidants are POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in appropriate doses for pregnant women. See specific ingredients for more detailed safety information.

Breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of antioxidants, in general, if you are breast-feeding. See specific ingredients for detailed safety information.

Interactions

Interactions?

We currently have no information for ANTIOXIDANTS Interactions.

Dosing

Dosing

View References

REFERENCES:

  • Lippmann SM, Klein EA, Goodman PJ, et al. Effect of selenium and vitamin E on risk of prostate cancer and other cancers: the selenium and vitamin E cancer prevention trial (SELECT). JAMA 2009;301:39-51. View abstract.
  • Lirussi F, Azzalini L, Orando S, Orlando R, Angelico F. Antioxidant supplements for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and/or steatohepatitis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007;2007(1):CD004996. View abstract.
  • Magalhães PV, Dean O, Andreazza AC, Berk M, Kapczinski F. Antioxidant treatments for schizophrenia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016;2:CD008919. View abstract.
  • Myung SK, Kim Y, Ju W, Choi HJ, Bae WK. Effects of antioxidant supplements on cancer prevention: meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Ann Oncol. 2010;21(1):166-79. View abstract.
  • Orrell RW, Lane RJ, Ross M. Antioxidant treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis / motor neuron disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007;(1):CD002829. View abstract.
  • Park SJ, Myung SK, Lee Y, Lee YJ. Effects of Vitamin and Antioxidant Supplements in Prevention of Bladder Cancer: a Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. J Korean Med Sci. 2017;32(4):628-635. View abstract.
  • Rustagi T, Njei B. Antioxidant therapy for pain reduction in patients with chronic pancreatitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Pancreas. 2015;44(5):812-8. View abstract.
  • Tenório MB, Ferreira RC, Moura FA, Bueno NB, Goulart MOF, Oliveira ACM. Oral antioxidant therapy for prevention and treatment of preeclampsia: Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2018 Sep;28(9):865-876. View abstract.
  • Wang J, Wang T, Ding W, et al. Efficacy of antioxidant therapy on sperm quality measurements after varicocelectomy: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Andrologia. 2019;51(10):e13396. View abstract.
  • Ye Y, Li J, Yuan Z. Effect of antioxidant vitamin supplementation on cardiovascular outcomes: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e56803. View abstract.
  • Zhou D, Wang W, Cheng X, Wei J, Zheng S. Antioxidant therapy for patients with chronic pancreatitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clin Nutr. 2015;34(4):627-34. View abstract.
  • Allen, S., Britton, J. R., and Leonardi-Bee, J. A. Association between antioxidant vitamins and asthma outcome measures: systematic review and meta-analysis. Thorax 2009;64(7):610-619. View abstract.
  • Bardia, A., Tleyjeh, I. M., Cerhan, J. R., Sood, A. K., Limburg, P. J., Erwin, P. J., and Montori, V. M. Efficacy of antioxidant supplementation in reducing primary cancer incidence and mortality: systematic review and meta-analysis. Mayo Clin.Proc. 2008;83(1):23-34. View abstract.
  • Jiang, L., Yang, K. H., Tian, J. H., Guan, Q. L., Yao, N., Cao, N., Mi, D. H., Wu, J., Ma, B., and Yang, S. H. Efficacy of antioxidant vitamins and selenium supplement in prostate cancer prevention: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutr.Cancer 2010;62(6):719-727. View abstract.
  • Mathew, M. C., Ervin, A. M., Tao, J., and Davis, R. M. Antioxidant vitamin supplementation for preventing and slowing the progression of age-related cataract. Cochrane.Database.Syst.Rev. 2012;6:CD004567. View abstract.
  • Myung, S. K., Ju, W., Kim, S. C., and Kim, H. Vitamin or antioxidant intake (or serum level) and risk of cervical neoplasm: a meta-analysis. BJOG. 2011;118(11):1285-1291. View abstract.
  • Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group. A randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial of high-dose supplementation with vitamins C and E, beta carotene, and zinc for age-related macular degeneration and vision loss. AREDS report no. 8. Arch Ophthalmol 2001;119:1417-36. View abstract.
  • Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group. A randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial of high-dose supplementation with vitamins C and E and beta carotene for age-related cataract and vision loss: AREDS report no. 9. Arch Ophthalmol 2001;119:1439-52. View abstract.
  • Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group. Potential public health impact of age-related eye disease study results: AREDS report no. 11. Arch Ophthalmol 2003;121:1621-4. View abstract.
  • Ali- Hasan- Al- Saegh S, Mirhosseini SJ, Tahernejad M, et al. Impact of antioxidant supplementations on cardio-renal protection in cardiac surgery: an updated and comprehensive meta-analysis and systematic review. Cardiovasc Ther. 2016 Oct;34(5):360-70. View abstract.
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  • Bolignano D, Cernaro V, Gembillo G, Baggetta R, Buemi M, D'Arrigo G. Antioxidant agents for delaying diabetic kidney disease progression: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2017;12(6):e0178699. View abstract.
  • Chang YJ, Myung SK, Chung ST, et al. Effects of vitamin treatment or supplements with purported antioxidant properties on skin cancer prevention: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Dermatology. 2011;223(1):36-44. View abstract.
  • Chew EY, Clemons TE, Agrón E, Sperduto RD, Sangiovanni JP, Kurinij N, Davis MD; Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group. Long-term effects of vitamins C and E, ß-carotene, and zinc on age-related macular degeneration: AREDS report no. 35. Ophthalmology. 2013 Aug;120(8):1604-11.e4. View abstract.
  • Ciofu O, Lykkesfeldt J. Antioxidant supplementation for lung disease in cystic fibrosis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014;(8):CD007020. View abstract.
  • Ciofu O, Smith S, Lykkesfeldt J. Antioxidant Supplementation for Lung Disease in Cystic Fibrosis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019;10(10):CD007020. View abstract.
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  • Evans JR, Lawrenson JG. Antioxidant vitamin and mineral supplements for slowing the progression of age-related macular degeneration. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017;7:CD000254. View abstract.
  • Geng J, Qian J, Si W, Cheng H, Ji F, Shen Z. The clinical benefits of perioperative antioxidant vitamin therapy in patients undergoing cardiac surgery: a meta-analysis. Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg. 2017;25(6):966-974. View abstract.
  • Gooshe M, Abdolghaffari AH, Nikfar S, Mahdaviani P, Abdollahi M. Antioxidant therapy in acute, chronic and post-endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography pancreatitis: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis. World J Gastroenterol. 2015;21(30):9189-208. View abstract.
  • Gu WJ, Wei CY, Yin RX. Antioxidant supplementation for the prevention of post-endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography pancreatitis: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutr J. 2013;12:23. View abstract.
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  • Kandhare AD, Mukherjee A, Bodhankar SL. Antioxidant for treatment of diabetic nephropathy: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Chem Biol Interact. 2017 Dec 25;278:212-221. View abstract.
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