Antioxidants for healthy arteries

Long-term supplementation with dietary antioxidants has beneficial effects on sugar and fat metabolism, blood pressure and arterial flexibility in patients with multiple cardiovascular risk factors. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access journal Nutrition and Metabolism report these positive results in a randomised controlled trial of combined vitamin C, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10 and selenium capsules.

Reuven Zimlichman worked with a team of researchers from Wolfson Medical Centre, Israel, to carry out the study in 70 patients from the centre's hypertension clinic. He said:"Antioxidant supplementation significantly increased large and small artery elasticity in patients with multiple cardiovascular risk factors. This beneficial vascular effect was associated with an improvement in glucose and lipid metabolism as well as significant decrease in blood pressure."

Previous results from clinical trials into the cardiovascular health effects of antioxidants have been equivocal. In order to shed more light onto the matter, Zimlichman and his colleagues randomised the 70 patients to receive either antioxidants or placebo capsules for six months. Tests at the beginning of the trial, after three months and at the six month mark revealed that the patients in the antioxidant group had more elastic arteries (a measure of increased cardiovascular health) and better blood sugar and cholesterol profiles. According to Zimlichman, "The findings of the present study justify investigating the overall clinical impact of antioxidant treatment in patients with multiple cardiovascular risk factors". - (EurekAlert! July 2010)

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