Antioxidant supplements are touted as a way to improve health, but a new systematic review has found no evidence that such supplements extend life. Incredibly, the review authors said that some antioxidants could actually increase the risk of death. Writing in the latest issue of The Cochrane Library, the researchers suggest that urgent regulation of the nutraceuticals industry is needed.
The review involved an analysis of past studies that found that supplemental antioxidants do not reduce mortality and that some - including vitamin A, beta-carotene and vitamin E - could increase mortality. "The harmful effects of antioxidant supplements are not confined to vitamin A," said review co-author Christian Gluud. "Our analyses also demonstrate rather convincingly that beta-carotene and vitamin E lead to increased mortality compared to placebo."
The review authors recommend greater regulation of antioxidant supplements and make a plea for urgent political action. "We should request that the regulatory authorities dare to regulate the industry without being financially dependent on the very same industry," said Gluud, director of medical science at the Centre for Clinical Intervention Research, Copenhagen University Hospital.
Antioxidants: When Too Much Of A Good Thing Can Kill You
Black Cohosh Effects All In The Mind?
Echinacea May Provide No Benefit For Cold Sufferers
Vitamin E Supplements Often Ineffective
Source: The Cochrane Library