Antioxidants don't prevent cardiovascular events. . .

November 1, 2007

. . . according to the results of the large-scale, randomized Women's Antioxidant Cardiovascular Study.

. . according to the results of the large-scale, randomized Women's Antioxidant Cardiovascular Study. The study tested the effects of 500 mg/d of ascorbic acid, 600 IU of vitamin E every other day, and 50 mg of beta carotene every other day on cardiovascular (CV) events (i.e., myocardial infarction, stroke, coronary revascularization, or CV disease death) in over 8,000 women at high risk for CV disease.

In this first trial to examine the effects of ascorbic acid alone on CV disease prevention, more than 9 years of follow-up revealed no statistically significant benefits associated with any of the antioxidants studied either alone or in combination, with the exceptions of a marginally significant reduction in CV events among women with prior CV disease taking vitamin E (RR 0.89; 95% CI, 0.79-1.00; P=0.04) and a possible reduction in stroke among women taking both vitamins C and E (P=0.03).

On a positive note, no detrimental effects from any of these agents on total or CV disease mortality surfaced either.

Commentary from Nanette F. Santoro, MD, Professor and Director, Division of Reproductive Endocrinology, Department of Ob/Gyn and Women's Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY.

The Women's Antioxidant Cardiovascular Study has found that supplemental vitamin C at 500 mg a day and vitamin E at 600 IU every other day did not prevent cardiovascular disease in women. This study complements prior work that has reported ineffectiveness or even harm from dietary supplements. It appears that eating foods rich in these nutrients is superior to taking them as supplements.