Beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E and cardiovascular diseases
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Observational studies have shown an inverse relationship between consumption of fruits and vegetables high in beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, and ischemic heart disease (IHD) and stroke. In large observational studies, beta- carotene reduced the risk of IHD events in men, particularly in smokers. In contrast, four large randomized trials did not reveal a reduction in cardiovascular events with beta-carotene use, and may, in fact, increase IHD and total mortality in male smokers. There have been only a few large observational studies and one randomized trial with vitamin C, which have shown no beneficial or deleterious impact of this vitamin on cardiovascular events. Most large observational studies have shown an inverse relationship between vitamin E and IHD. However, a meta-analysis of the four randomized trials done in Europe and America involving a total of 51,000 participants allocated to vitamin E or placebo for 1.4 to 6 years, did not demonstrate a reduction in cardiovascular and IHD mortality and nonfatal myocardial infarction. Currently, there are no data to support the use of these vitamins to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events. Trials are in progress to determine whether a longer duration of administration of vitamin E or the association of vitamin E with cofactors may reduce cardiovascular events.
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