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Antioxidants and Cardiovascular Disease: Why Do We Still Not Have the Answers?

Thomas C. Chalmers
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Metaworks, Inc. Boston, MA 02109 Requests for Reprints: Thomas C. Chalmers, MD, 32 Pinewood Village, West Lebanon, NH 03784.

Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1995;123(11):887. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-123-11-199512010-00014
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In this issue, Jha and colleagues [1] provide an excellent review of the published prospective epidemiologic studies and randomized, controlled trials with more than 100 patients that address the possibility that supplementary antioxidant vitamins (E, C, and β-carotene) prevent cardiovascular disease and reduce overall mortality rates. The question is important because it is entirely possible that reducing cholesterol levels, cigarette smoking, and blood pressure; increasing exercise; and controlling diabetes have achieved all that they will achieve except through greater compliance, and it may be time to explore other channels of opportunity. As Jha and colleagues [1] point out, suspicion of the efficacy of antioxidants has been around for a long time. Why do we still not know whether they are effective?

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