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Role of antioxidant vitamins in prevention of cardiovascular diseases

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 28 August 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:577

Meta-analysis seems to exclude benefit of vitamin C supplementation

  1. Andy Ness, senior lecturer in epidemiology (,
  2. Matthias Egger, senior lecturer in epidemiology and public health medicine,
  3. George Davey Smith, professor of clinical epidemiology
  1. Department of Social Medicine, Bristol BS6 7DP
  2. Division of Cardiology, Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation, General Site, Hamilton, ON L8L 2X2, Canada

    EDITOR—The first article in the series on evidence based cardiology summarises evidence on the effect of antioxidant vitamins on the risk of cardiovascular disease.1 The summary of the trial evidence for vitamin C supplementation is, however, incomplete, and the authors' interpretation of the available data on antioxidants is too optimistic.

    The authors describe Wilson et al's trial of vitamin C, in which 538 patients admitted to an acute geriatric unit were randomised to receive 200 mg of vitamin C or placebo daily for six months.2 We are aware of two further trials of vitamin C supplementation in Western populations that have reported on mortality from all causes. Burr et al randomised 297 elderly people with low vitamin C concentrations to receive vitamin C (150 mg a day for 12 weeks and 50 mg a day thereafter) or placebo for two years.3 Hunt et al randomised 199 elderly patients to receive 200 mg of …

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