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Medical Antioxidants bad for your health?

  1. Oct 31, 2009 #1
    While searching the web, I came across this study: http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/297/8/842 published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which suggests that anti-oxidants increase the risk of death.

    Maybe it is just my lack of familarity with statistical methods, but this study seemed a bit odd. What does "all-cause mortality" refer to in this context?
     
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  3. Oct 31, 2009 #2

    Monique

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  4. Oct 31, 2009 #3
    Monique,
    I've found it's easy to waste time/money and risk health on various anti-oxidants, vitamins, and nutrients (I've certainly done it). Do you know of a good link to research the correct/suggested anti-oxidant/vitamin mix per a given medical condition or general health level - for instance adult male, 50, high blood pressure, under-active thyroid, perfect cholesterol, family history of cancer => list of preferred antioxidant or vitamin/nutrient mix?
     
  5. Oct 31, 2009 #4

    Evo

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    Very interesting Monique, thanks.
     
  6. Oct 31, 2009 #5

    Monique

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    It's not something that I vigilantly follow, you can search PubMed for articles on the subject, but you should always judge the scope of a study. I think the best thing to do is to have a varied diet. If you are really interested in the subject you can visit a nutritionist.

    You're welcome, it's an interesting twist that vitamins can increase your risk of cancer.
     
  7. Oct 31, 2009 #6

    Evo

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    It would make sense that any abnormally high amount of anything would cause problems. Too much of a good thing, as the saying goes.

    Also, as stated, we do not know enough about the interactions of the chemicals found in the natural food and how significant of a role they play in the overall beneficial value. Studies seem to indicate that simply isolating a single vitamin and ingesting it as a pill is not the same as eating the real thing, and in some cases, may even be harmful.
     
  8. Nov 1, 2009 #7
    https://www.amazon.com/Clinical-Spo...=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1257090538&sr=8-1

    It can get you started on the right path. The book should be intelligible for the educated layman. Although it is written for athletic species, conclusions applicable to other species can be drawn from its study. Most of the popular nutrition / athletic performance advice which can be found on internet is bogus, marketing driven and has nothing to do with science.

    Generally it is unwise to interpret studied found on Pub-med without a certain degree of knowledge in integration of human metabolism.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  9. Nov 3, 2009 #8

    Moonbear

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    The study in the OP excluded about 1/3 of the articles found in their search because there was NO mortality reported in those studies. That seems to be a pretty strong bias toward finding an effect on mortality.

    Of course, my bias is against these types of "studies" that go out and try to compile a bunch of data from numerous articles from unrelated research areas that loosely have one thing in common, disregard all the details of the studies, and try to draw some sort of conclusion from it, especially when the endpoints are as ambiguous as all-cause mortality. What use is it? If the individual studies tell you things like which type of condition the patient had and demonstrate whether the antioxidants in a particular dose range helped, hurt, or did nothing, why would you disregard that in favor of some more vague analysis? And, especially, why would you then exclude all the studies that showed no mortality? A review article summarizing which conditions are more likely to respond well to antioxidant treatment, which are not, and which have conflicting data and may need further study to sort out why the studies conflice, would have been far more useful than just lumping everything together and trying to make some very general statement about a whole range of antioxidants. Afterall, the question a physician reading JAMA needs to answer is, "Should I recommend this treatment to this patient presenting with this particular condition? And if I should, what doses should I recommend." This "study" doesn't help answer that question at all.
     
  10. Nov 3, 2009 #9

    Evo

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    Monique's article is of interest.
     
  11. Nov 3, 2009 #10

    Moonbear

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    Yes, that is more to the point of actually addressing a specific risk group. With any vitamin supplement, generally, they're helpful if they prevent a vitamin deficiency (i.e., taking folic acid early in pregnancy to prevent spina bifida from a folic acid deficiency), but that doesn't mean that taking more than your body needs is a good thing.
     
  12. Nov 4, 2009 #11
    Yes, sometimes even mainstream brands of vitamin supplements can be way too hgh a dose. I figure this is a product of overy simplistic market pressure (more is always better.) For example, a CVS brand B-12 supplement: individual tablet is 33,333% of RDA. Yikes!

    EDIT: Ha ha, that's not the kind of pressure I mean! It's funny PF's word filer always seem to hyperlink words in the wrong context.
     
  13. Nov 5, 2009 #12
    heh, there's a reason for that. B-12 absorption is pretty low to begin with.

    the other thing, i've never seen any study or literature that shows a toxic effect from any dose of B-12, no matter how high, and i looked for a while. the amount of hydroxocobalamin directly injected into the blood stream for cyanide poisoning is so high that patients pee red. you'll never get anywhere close to that with pills.
     
  14. Nov 5, 2009 #13
    Don't know if it makes a difference, but this was actually cyanocobalamin.
     
  15. Nov 5, 2009 #14
    it first has to pass through the liver to become methyl- or adenosyl-cobalamin, but for most people it won't make a difference. oral cyano- is actually suggested for treating deficiency. good article here: http://www.aafp.org/afp/20030301/979.html
     
  16. Nov 5, 2009 #15

    CRGreathouse

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    Wow. I take a multivitamin supplement and a calcium supplement (the multivitamin lacks calcium), but I halve the dose and don't take it daily -- the amounts are too high.
     
  17. Nov 5, 2009 #16

    Monique

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    Multivitamins always make me feel miserable. I don't know whether I'm oversensitive for one of the ingredients that is unrelated to the vitamins/minerals, but I avoid them.
     
  18. Nov 6, 2009 #17
    i would make sure to take them with a meal if you're not. some minerals can cause nausea if there's enough of it in an ionic form (zinc and especially copper), but they usually put the cheap oxides in there. another option might be to break them up and spread them out over two or three meals.
     
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