Scientists continue to make shocking discoveries that often contradict their earlier ones. According to the latest studies conducted by the researchers at Copenhagen University, there is no conclusive evidence supporting life prolonging benefits of antioxidants. On the contrary, vitamins A and E may weaken body’s natural defense mechanisms. “Even more, beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E seem to increase mortality,” – Danish scientists’ review says.
The Effect of Vitamin Supplements on Health
Only several studies were selected out from 817 corresponding scientific researches on the effects of beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium. The scientists claim only these studies can fairly reflect the overall picture of supplement effects. The supplements in question are considered to be able to prevent “oxidative stress” (implicated in several major diseases including cancer and heart disease), by helping the body get rid of free radicals which are said to lead to the diseases.
Vitamins and Lifespan
The studies involved altogether 233,000 both sick and healthy people taking supplements for disease prevention. Having taken various factors into account and additionally excluded 20 studies, Danish scientist found that vitamin A increases the risk of premature death up to 16%, beta-carotene – up to 7%, and vitamin E – up to 4%. Vitamin C did not appear to affect lifespan in any way. According to the scientists, further research into the impact of vitamin C and selenium is needed.
The Effect of Antioxidants on Health
The researchers reported that they found “no evidence that antioxidant promote the prevention of diseases.” The same effect of the food supplements remains still unclear. The scientists linked it to the way they may impact body functions. Beta-carotene, in particular, is thought to affect energy expenditure in the body.
Where to Find Vitamins?
British Department of Health emphasizes that essential vitamins should be obtained from a healthy diet, not from taking a huge amount of supplements which are a $650 millions worth market in the UK.
“There is a need to exercise caution in the use of high doses of purified supplements of vitamins, including antioxidant vitamins, and minerals,” a spokesperson said. “Their impact on long-term health may not have been fully established and they cannot be assumed to be without risk.”