Vitamins C and E and Beta Carotene Do Not Prevent Cardiovascular Events in Women

Summary and Comment |
September 27, 2007

Vitamins C and E and Beta Carotene Do Not Prevent Cardiovascular Events in Women

  1. Jamaluddin Moloo, MD, MPH

Still no benefit from these antioxidants alone or combined

  1. Jamaluddin Moloo, MD, MPH

Several trials have assessed the value of antioxidant supplementation for preventing cardiovascular events. In a randomized trial, researchers used a factorial design to examine the effect of three antioxidants (vitamins C and E and beta carotene) in 8171 women (mean age, 60) with a history of cardiovascular disease or three or more risk factors for CVD.

During a mean follow-up of 9 years, 1450 women experienced a cardiovascular event. Overall, no reduction was observed in the primary endpoint (combination of myocardial infarction, stroke, revascularization procedures, or cardiovascular cause of death) with vitamin C (500 mg/day), vitamin E (600 IU every other day), or beta carotene (50 mg every other day) when taken alone or in combinations. Among a subgroup of women with a history of CVD, vitamin E was associated with a marginally significant reduction in the primary endpoint.

Comment

Comment: Consistent with prior randomized trials, this study failed to show an overall benefit from vitamin C, vitamin E, or beta carotene for prevention of cardiovascular events. Antioxidant vitamin supplements are heavily advertised as conferring cardiovascular benefit — a claim that patients should be told remains unproven.

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