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JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2006 Mar-Apr;30(2):108-14.

Antioxidant supplementation with or without B-group vitamins after acute ischemic stroke: a randomized controlled trial.

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Sheffield Institute for Nutritional Studies on Ageing and the Human Nutrition Unit, University of Sheffield, Northern General Hospital, Sheffield S5 7AU, UK.



Evidence shows that there is a rapid increase in the production of markers of oxidative damage immediately after acute ischemic stroke and that endogenous antioxidant defenses are rapidly depleted, thus permitting further tissue damage. Several studies point to an antioxidant effect of B-group vitamins and a pro-oxidant effect of elevated total plasma homocysteine (tHcy).


To test whether supplementary antioxidants with or without B-group vitamins during this critical period enhance antioxidant capacity or mitigate oxidative damage, ninety-six acute ischemic stroke patients within 12 hours of symptom onset were randomly assigned to receive either daily oral 800 IU (727 mg) vitamin E and 500 mg vitamin C (n = 24), or B-group vitamins (5 mg folic acid, 5 mg vitamin B(2), 50 mg vitamin B(6), and 0.4 mg of vitamin B(12); n = 24), both vitamins together (n = 24), or no supplementation (n = 24) for 14 days. Treatment groups and controls were matched for stroke subtype and age. Blood was obtained before treatment, at day 7, and day 14 for measurements of plasma or blood vitamin status, plasma total antioxidant capacity (TAOC), malondialdehyde (MDA), tHcy and C-reactive protein (CRP).


Supplementation with antioxidant vitamins and B-group vitamins separately or together significantly increased the plasma concentration of vitamin C, E, pyridoxal phosphate (B(6) status), red blood cell folate, and improved a measure of B(2) status (red cell glutathione reductase activation coefficient [EGRAC]), compared with the control group. Plasma TAOC increased significantly in the antioxidant treatment groups compared with the nonsignificant decline seen in the control group. tHcy concentrations decreased in subjects who received B-group vitamins and the control group compared with the rise seen in those who received antioxidants alone. There was a significant reduction in plasma MDA concentration in the 3 treatment groups, in contrast to the increase seen in the control group; however, the changes were most evident in antioxidant groups. CRP concentrations (a marker of tissue inflammation) were significantly lower in the 3 treatment groups compared with the control group. There were no additive or synergistic effects of antioxidants and B-group vitamins together on any outcome measure.


Antioxidants supplementation with or without B-group vitamins enhances antioxidant capacity, mitigates oxidative damage, and may have an anti-inflammatory effect immediately postinfarct in stroke disease.

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