Tuesday, February 17, 2009

research to watch

There has been some buzz in the scientific research world regarding the pro-oxidant possibility of antioxidants and I'm pleased to see Tara Parker-Pope touch upon it in her recent Well post. The mainstream media appears to have caught the wave of research reporting that many vitamin supplements, to use a colleague's terms, "are only really resulting in some expensive, vitamin rich urine," but few and far between are the stories about the potential of antioxidants keeping unwanted cancerous cells strong. From Parker-Pope's post:

In 2007, The Journal of the American Medical Association reviewed mortality rates in randomized trials of antioxidant supplements. In 47 trials of 181,000 participants, the rate was 5 percent higher among the antioxidant users. The main culprits were vitamin A, beta carotene and vitamin E; vitamin C and selenium seemed to have no meaningful effect.

“We call them essential nutrients because they are,” said Marian L. Neuhouser, an associate member in cancer prevention at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. “But there has been a leap into thinking that vitamins and minerals can prevent anything from fatigue to cancer to
Alzheimer’s. That’s where the science didn’t pan out.”

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