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      Commentary Oxidative Stress, Nutrition and Health. Experimental Strategies for Optimization of Nutritional Antioxidant Intake in Humans

      Free Radical Research
      Informa UK Limited

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          Oxidants, antioxidants, and the degenerative diseases of aging.

          Metabolism, like other aspects of life, involves tradeoffs. Oxidant by-products of normal metabolism cause extensive damage to DNA, protein, and lipid. We argue that this damage (the same as that produced by radiation) is a major contributor to aging and to degenerative diseases of aging such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, immune-system decline, brain dysfunction, and cataracts. Antioxidant defenses against this damage include ascorbate, tocopherol, and carotenoids. Dietary fruits and vegetables are the principal source of ascorbate and carotenoids and are one source of tocopherol. Low dietary intake of fruits and vegetables doubles the risk of most types of cancer as compared to high intake and also markedly increases the risk of heart disease and cataracts. Since only 9% of Americans eat the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, the opportunity for improving health by improving diet is great.
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            Fruit, vegetables, and cancer prevention: a review of the epidemiological evidence.

            Approximately 200 studies that examined the relationship between fruit and vegetable intake and cancers of the lung, colon, breast, cervix, esophagus, oral cavity, stomach, bladder, pancreas, and ovary are reviewed. A statistically significant protective effect of fruit and vegetable consumption was found in 128 of 156 dietary studies in which results were expressed in terms of relative risk. For most cancer sites, persons with low fruit and vegetable intake (at least the lower one-fourth of the population) experience about twice the risk of cancer compared with those with high intake, even after control for potentially confounding factors. For lung cancer, significant protection was found in 24 of 25 studies after control for smoking in most instances. Fruits, in particular, were significantly protective in cancers of the esophagus, oral cavity, and larynx, for which 28 of 29 studies were significant. Strong evidence of a protective effect of fruit and vegetable consumption was seen in cancers of the pancreas and stomach (26 of 30 studies), as well as in colorectal and bladder cancers (23 of 38 studies). For cancers of the cervix, ovary, and endometrium, a significant protective effect was shown in 11 of 13 studies, and for breast cancer a protective effect was found to be strong and consistent in a meta analysis. It would appear that major public health benefits could be achieved by substantially increasing consumption of these foods.
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              Vitamin E consumption and the risk of coronary heart disease in men.

              The oxidative modification of low-density lipoproteins increases their incorporation into the arterial intima, an essential step in atherogenesis. Although dietary antioxidants, such as vitamin C, carotene, and vitamin E, have been hypothesized to prevent coronary heart disease, prospective epidemiologic data are sparse. In 1986, 39,910 U.S. male health professionals 40 to 75 years of age who were free of diagnosed coronary heart disease, diabetes, and hypercholesterolemia completed detailed dietary questionnaires that assessed their usual intake of vitamin C, carotene, and vitamin E in addition to other nutrients. During four years of follow-up, we documented 667 cases of coronary disease. After controlling for age and several coronary risk factors, we observed a lower risk of coronary disease among men with higher intakes of vitamin E (P for trend = 0.003). For men consuming more than 60 IU per day of vitamin E, the multivariate relative risk was 0.64 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.49 to 0.83) as compared with those consuming less than 7.5 IU per day. As compared with men who did not take vitamin E supplements, men who took at least 100 IU per day for at least two years had a multivariate relative risk of coronary disease of 0.63 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.47 to 0.84). Carotene intake was not associated with a lower risk of coronary disease among those who had never smoked, but it was inversely associated with the risk among current smokers (relative risk, 0.30; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.11 to 0.82) and former smokers (relative risk, 0.60; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.38 to 0.94). In contrast, a high intake of vitamin C was not associated with a lower risk of coronary disease. These data do not prove a causal relation, but they provide evidence of an association between a high intake of vitamin E and a lower risk of coronary heart disease in men. Public policy recommendations with regard to the use of vitamin E supplements should await the results of additional studies.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Free Radical Research
                Free Radical Research
                Informa UK Limited
                1071-5762
                1029-2470
                July 07 2009
                July 07 2009
                : 25
                : 1
                : 57-74
                Article
                10.3109/10715769609145656
                83a9e3ba-3ecd-4557-b3c0-4b046d95ef07
                © 2009
                History

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