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Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Aug;72(2):476-83.

Intake of antioxidant vitamins and risk of death from stroke in postmenopausal women.

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Intergroup of Arizona, Phoenix, and the Division of Epidemiology, the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55454, USA.



Antioxidant vitamins may play a role in the prevention of stroke because they scavenge free radicals and prevent LDL oxidation. Epidemiologic studies that have examined this relation produced conflicting results.


We examined the association between antioxidant vitamin intakes and death from stroke.


This was a prospective cohort study of 34492 postmenopausal women.


During follow-up, 215 deaths from stroke were documented. Total vitamin A, carotenoid, and vitamin E intakes were not associated with death from stroke after multivariate adjustment. Relative risks (RRs) and 95% CIs of the highest compared with the lowest category were 0.79 (0.45, 1.38; P for trend = 0.33) for vitamin A, 0.80 (0.45, 1.40; P for trend = 0.40) for carotenoids, and 0.91 (0.55, 1.52; P for trend = 0.86) for vitamin E. The test for trend for total vitamin C intake was significant, although the association appeared somewhat U-shaped, not monotonic. An inverse association was seen between death from stroke and vitamin E intake from food. RRs (and 95% CIs) of death from stroke from the lowest to highest intake categories were 1.0, 0.80 (0.51, 1.26), 0.93 (0.58, 1. 49), 0.67 (0.39, 1.14), 0.40 (0.20, 0.80); P for trend = 0.008. The results suggest inverse associations between death from stroke and intakes of the most concentrated vitamin E food sources consumed by this cohort: mayonnaise, nuts, and margarine.


Our results suggest a protective effect of vitamin E from foods on death from stroke but do not support a protective role for supplemental vitamin E or other antioxidant vitamins. However, given the number of deaths from stroke in the present cohort, a small-to-moderate association could not be ruled out.

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