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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals


Antioxidant Vitamins Help Bodies Cope with Stress

By Michael McBurney

Who can say they live a life free of stress? Very few indeed. Pressures at work, tough physical workouts and less-than-optimal dietary choices can all contribute to oxidative stress. Researchers believe that oxidative stress may increase risk of prostate cancer.

When we fail to eat the recommended number of servings of green, yellow, and red vegetables, our dietary intake of antioxidants is low. Greater intake of antioxidants is associated with lower concentrations of biomarkers of stress in blood and urine. In a study examining the relationship between biomarkers of oxidative stress and cancer risk, Vance and colleagues report that increasing antioxidant status with dietary supplements may reduce risk of cancer.

In a meta-analysis of >11,000 cases and >18,000 control subjects in 15 studies, overall prostate cancer risk was inversely associated with α-tocopherol concentrations. The relationship among different carotenoid concentrations depended upon the aggressiveness of the prostate cancer.

If you are a woman, there are still reasons to consume more fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Higher intakes of β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, and folate are associated with lower risk of hearing loss in women. It didn’t matter whether these nutrients were consumed as foods or dietary supplements. Total intake was the important factor. Higher vitamin C intake was associated with increased risk of hearing loss but this may be an anomalous finding. In animal studies, vitamins C and E, as well as vitamin A and it’s provitamin form – β-carotene – have been shown to protect against hearing loss.

The truth of the matter is that our body, from top-to-bottom, male or female, needs antioxidants to maintain health.

Main Citations

Vance TM, Azabdaftari G, Pop EA, Lee SG, Su LJ, Fontham ETH, Bensen JT, Steck SE, Arab L, Mohler JL, Chen M-H, Koo SI, Chun OK. Intake of dietary antioxidants is inversely associated with biomarkers of oxidative stress among men with prostate cancer. 2015 Br J Nutr doi: 10.1017/S000711451500429249

Key TJ, Appleby PN, Travis RC, Albanes D, Albert AJ, Barricarte A, Black A, Boeing H, Bueno-de-Mesquita HB, Chan JM, Chen C, Cook MB, Donovan JL, Galan P, Gilbert R, Giles GG, Giovannucci E, Goodman GE, Goodman PJ, Gunter MJ, Hamdy FC, Heliovaara M, Helzlsouer KJ, Henderson BE, Hercberg S, Hoffman-Bolton J, Hoover RN, Johansson M, Khaw K-T, King IB, Knekt P, Kolonel LN, Le Marchand L, Mannisto S, Martin RM, Meyer HE, Mondul AM, Moy KA, Neal DE, Neuhouser ML, Palli D, Platz EA, Pouchieu C, Rissanen H, Schenk JM, Severi G, Stampfer MJ, Tjonneland A, Touvier M, Trichopoulou A, Weinstein SJ, Ziegler RG, Zhou CK, Allen NE on behalf of the Endogenous Hormones Nutritional Biomarkers Prostate Cancer Collaborative Group. Caroteinoids, retinol, tocopherols, and prostate cancer risk: pooled analysis of 15 studies. 2015 Am J Clin Nutr doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.114306

Other Citations

Curhan SG, Stankovic KM, Eavey RD, Wang M, Stampfer MJ, Curhan GC. Carotenoids, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and folate and risk of self-reported hearing loss in women. 2015 Am J Clin Nutr doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.109314

Le Prell CG, Hughes LF, Miller JM. Free radical scavengers vitamins A, C and E plus magnesium reduce noise trauma. 2007 Free Radic Biol Med 42:1454-1463