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CRN comments on data on male cardiovascular health and vitamins C, E

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WASHINGTON The Council for Responsible Nutrition on Sunday commended research to be published in the Nov. 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. While that research concluded there appears to be no prevention of cardiovascular events in male physicians supplementing with vitamins E and C, it did not wholly discount the possible benefits of supplementing with vitamins E or C, either.

“We commend the researchers for undertaking this important prevention trial which sought to confirm positive results demonstrated by earlier observational trials on these antioxidant vitamins. Although the results did not demonstrate an overall benefit, the results also do not discount the earlier epidemiological data showing that people with high intakes of vitamins E and C may have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease,” stated Andrew Shao, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs for CRN. “Nutrition research is extremely complex, and doesn’t always provide clear-cut answers. This study raises an interesting set of scientific challenges as to why the benefits found in observational studies have not been confirmed in this kind of trial.”  

Shao acknowledged that this research could be frustrating for consumers, however. “The truth is, we don’t have conclusive scientific evidence in the form of randomized, controlled trials that demonstrate exactly how to prevent cardiovascular disease. We do know there are some well-known practical approaches—like not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, consuming a diet with a variety of foods, regular exercise, seeing your physician and responsible use of vitamin supplements,” he said. “[But] consumers should not take vitamins expecting that vitamins alone will prevent cardiovascular disease … they should continue to take vitamins for the general health benefits they provide.”

“This important study is another in a series of clinical trials that generally have failed to confirm hopes of identifying a strong preventive effect of vitamin E, vitamin C or other antioxidants in relation to cardiovascular disease, commented Annette Dickinson, consultant and past-president of CRN. “These results do not of course negate other evidence of benefits for vitamin E and vitamin C for other conditions, including immune function, mental acuity and eye health. Consumers would be well advised to ensure adequate intakes of all essential nutrients through a good diet plus use of a multivitamin, and selected other nutrients including vitamins E and C, vitamin D, calcium, and EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids.”

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