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J Am Coll Nutr. 1998 Jun;17(3):244-9.

Effects of supplementation with a combination of antioxidant vitamins and trace elements, at nutritional doses, on biochemical indicators and markers of the antioxidant system in adult subjects.

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Institut Scientifique et Technique de la Nutrition et l'Alimentation, Conservatoire National des Arts et M├ętiers, Paris, France.



To test the impact of supplementation with nutritional doses of antioxidant nutrients on biochemical indicators of vitamin and trace element levels.


A randomized double-blind trial was performed comparing two groups receiving daily either a combination of vitamins (beta-carotene, 6 mg; vitamin C, 120 mg; and vitamin E, 30 mg) and trace elements (zinc, 20 mg; and selenium, 100 micrograms); or a placebo.


401 subjects (166 males aged 45 to 60 years and 235 females aged to 35 to 60 years). MEASURE OF OUTCOME: Biological markers of vitamin and trace element status and free radical parameters were measured initially, 3 months, and 6 months after supplemention.


Mean serum concentrations of alpha-tocopherol, vitamin C, beta-carotene, zinc and selenium increased significantly after 3 months of supplementation in the group receiving multivitamins associated with minerals. At baseline, 18.2% of the men and 5.1% of the women had low concentrations of serum vitamin C (< 20 mumol/l): 2.4% of the men and 17% of the women presented low concentrations of serum retinol (< 1.4 mumol/l): 18.7% of men and 10% of women had serum beta-carotene < 0.30 mumol/l. None of the study subjects had serum alpha-tocopherol concentrations below the limit cut-off point (< 9.3 mumol/l). Low serum zinc concentrations (< 10.7 mumol/l) were found in 15.1% of men and 23.8% of women. Low serum selenium concentrations (< 0.75 mumol/l) were found in 6% of men and 6.4% of women. A significant increase in plasma and red cell GPx activity was observed in groups receiving supplementation. No modifications were observed after 6 months of supplementation for malondyaldehyde.


This study demonstrates the efficacy of an intake of antioxidant vitamins and trace elements, given at nutritional doses, on biochemical indicators of vitamin and trace elements status.

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