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Longer life expectancy by vitamin C and beta-carotene:
The already extensive confirmed hypothesis that a high dietary intake of vitamin C and beta carotene increased life expectancy, is currently further supported by a 24-year follow-up study in the context of the famous Western Electric Study, which began in 1957.


Large inter-individual differences:
For this project 1,556 middle-aged men who worked at the Western Electric Company were interviewed twice, at the beginning of the study and a year afterwards about their eating habits. On this basis it was calculated how much vitamin C and beta-carotene daily menu contained. This revealed considerable inter-individual differences to the light. For the vitamin C intake, the difference between the first and the nine ninetieths percentile 187 milligrams per day (34 versus 221 mg), and for the beta-carotene consumption 8.3 mg / day (0.8 versus 9.1 mg).


During a follow-up period of 32,935 person-years occurred in the research group 522 deaths, 155 from cancer and 231 from coronary heart disease. A detailed analysis of these mortality rates showed a clear correlation between the mortality risk and dietary intake of vitamin C and beta carotene.

Lower risk of death:
An increase of 100 mg vitamin C in the daily consumption was associated with a reduction of 32% in the total mortality. The risk of dying from cancer decreased by 43%, while the chance of dying from coronary heart disease decreased by 32%. What the beta carotene intake was concerned, an increase of daily use with 3 mg correlated with a reduction of 22% in total mortality. The risk of dying from cancer or coronary heart disease risk decreased by 28 and 21 percent.


Because vitamin C and beta carotene are often in the same foods, also an index was prepared in which the consumption of both antioxidants reflected. Based on the level of this index, the subjects were divided into three groups. Compared to the group with the lowest index was in the group with the highest index overall mortality 26% lower and decreased the risk of dying from cancer by 37%. For coronary disease, the reduction in risk of death of 21%.

(Dietary vitamin C and beta-carotene and risk of death in middle-aged men. The Western Electric Study; Pandey DK et al (University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston 77030, USA); American Journal of Epidemiology, 142(12):1269-1278, 15 dec. 1995)

Beta carotene reduces risk of myocardial infarction:
In her dissertation "Antioxidants and Myocardial Infarction: the EURAMIC Study" does ir AFM Cardinal report of an international multi-center study of the relationship between dietary antioxidants and the occurrence of myocardial infarction. It reveals a protective effect of beta-carotene, which mainly occurs among smokers and ex-smokers.


Research in 9 countries:
The dissertation consists of one of the two research projects of the EURAMIC Study, which tests the hypothesis that dietary antioxidants may offer protection against the occurrence of heart attacks and breast cancer. In the study negotiated by Cardinal reported, the antioxidant status of men with a first acute myocardial infarction were included in the CCU ward of hospitals in 8 European countries, including the Netherlands, and Israel compared with those of men who have never had any infarction were struck and served as control. Looking at the possible protective effect of beta-carotene, alpha-tocopherol and selenium. It was chosen for biomarkers that give an impression of what the longer term through the diet is absorbed. For beta-carotene and vitamin E was so used provisions in the subcutaneous fat, and selenium provisions of the toenails. The usefulness of the subcutaneous fat parameters, was tested in a group of healthy volunteers. Among others it was examined to what extent a higher consumption of beta carotene leads to greater concentration in the subcutaneous fat. For this purpose, subjects were given daily for 6 months a natural beta carotene supplement the brand Lamberts (2 x 15 mg, for this purpose available through supplements supplier AOV The Hague). This supplementation was found to result in a six times higher concentration in the subcutaneous fat.

Beta carotene:
In the international study, which yields beta carotene and alpha-tocopherol by 683 infarct patients were compared with those of 727 control individuals, a clear inverse association between the beta-carotene status and the risk of myocardial infarction. For example, the average beta-carotene concentration in the patient group (0.35 mcg / g) was significantly lower than in the control group (0.42 mcg / g). Furthermore, where the distribution of beta-carotene levels in quintiles that persons in the lowest category of an approximately 80% more likely to have a heart attack than people in the highest quintile. Further analysis of the data revealed that beta carotene particular protection among smokers and ex-smokers.


Because polyunsaturated fatty acids, because they can easily oxidise, the risk of heart attack may increase if they are not protected by anti-oxidants, this aspect was also involved in the study. It was found that the risk of a heart attack in people with low beta-carotene and a lot polyunsaturated fatty acids in the subcutaneous fat indeed much greater than in those with both a low beta-carotene as a low PUFA status.

Regarding vitamin E, this study found no difference between the patient group and the control group. This finding is, says the author, in accordance with the results of other studies in which only a protective effect of this vitamin was observed at high doses, which can be realized only with supplements.

Vitamin E and beta-carotene protect against myocardial ischemia / reperfusion damage:
It is known that both ischemia as a subsequent reperfusion of the ischemic tissue lead to enhanced generation of free radicals, leading to serious damages may be caused. Especially in the reperfusion, many radicals. Ischemia / reperfusion injury occurs inter alia with myocardial and cerebral infarction and in open heart surgery.


By scientists at the University of the Orange Free State was in previous research has shown that the damage caused by ischemia / reperfusion injury to cardiac muscle tissue is made ​​worse when the animal is first exposed to cigarette smoke (a source of free radicals). Today, they reported a follow-up study showing that this increased sensitivity of the myocardium by the antioxidant vitamins alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene can be prevented. The oxidative damage to mitochondria in ischemia / reperfusion myocardium of rats subjected previously been exposed to cigarette smoke, was with the animals that vitamin E and beta-carotene were significantly lower than in the control group.

(These results give further support to the growing understanding that anti-oxidants with (threatening) heart attacks and strokes are of great importance to the tissue damage.)

(Antioxidant vitamin supplementation of smoke-exposed rats partially protects against myocardial ischaemic/reperfusion injury; Van Jaarsveld H, Kuyl JM, Alberts DW (Department Chemical Pathology (G3), University of Orange Free State, Bloemfontein, Republic of South Africa); Free Radical Research Communications, 17(4):236-9, 1992)

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