Monday, October 1, 2007


Screams, the headline of a study just published in the Archives of Internal Medicine August 2007. This is another paper, in what seems a lot of papers recently attempting to discourage people from taking antioxidant vitamins.

The conclusion from this study is so blatantly ridiculous that it should never have been published in a prestigious medical journal, much less quoted by medical reporters in the media.

The study consisted of 8171 women, mean age of 60, who had a mean follow-up of nine years after being started on vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene every other day.
To be included in this study, the women were required to have a documented history of cardiovascular disease or at least three major risk factors. This is a very select group of sick women; almost 18% had a heart attack, stroke, surgical intervention or death from heart disease. There is no evidence that any prescription medication would have benefited this group. Much to their chagrin, and not included in the headline was the fact that there was a significant reduction in heart attack in the group of women taking vitamin E. who had a history of previous cardiovascular disease. In addition, the group of females who took vitamin E. and vitamin C had a statistically significant reduction in the rate of strokes.
In spite of this, the conclusion of the paper was that there was no benefit to vitamin E. C. or beta-carotene in reducing cardiovascular events in women who are high-risk.
The published commentary by other physicians, said that physicians should warn people that there is no benefit to antioxidant vitamins.
Yet those same physicians would not hesitate to prescribe an expensive medication with multiple side effects.

Sadly, most physicians would only look at the title of the study and then the conclusions to make their treatment decisions rather than actually going into the details of the paper.
This is just another vivid reminder that we should not be swayed by the latest headline. And that we should take control of our own health, as we each are the most responsible and get the most benefit from being healthy.

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