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Clin Nutr. 2009 Feb;28(1):3-9. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2008.10.011. Epub 2008 Nov 29.

Is there a role for supplemented antioxidants in the prevention of atherosclerosis?

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine and Diabetes Center, University Hospital G Papageorgiou, Thessaloniki, Greece.



Oxidative stress is thought to play a substantial role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Supplementation of antioxidants has been studied as a strategy in the prevention of occurrence and progression of atherosclerosis.


We searched the MEDLINE and PubMed databases (up to February 2008) for randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of antioxidant (and in particular vitamins E, C and/or beta-carotene) supplementation, published in English.


We identified 22 trials (N=134,590 subjects) of antioxidant supplementation for the prevention of atherosclerosis (7 primary, 13 secondary and 2 both primary and secondary). Of these studies, 10 examined the effect of a single antioxidant supplementation on primary or secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, while 12 the effect of a combination of antioxidants.


As the majority of studies included in this review does not support a possible role of antioxidant supplementation in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, no definite conclusion can be drawn to justify the use of antioxidant vitamin supplements for the prevention of atherosclerotic events.

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