Dietary supplements and human health: for better or for worse?
ABSTRACT Encouraged by the potential health benefits of higher dietary intake of substances with beneficial properties, the use of supplements containing these compounds has increased steadily over recent years. The effects of several of these, many of which are antioxidants, have been supported by data obtained in vitro, in animal models, and often by human studies as well. However, as carefully controlled human supplementation trials have been conducted, questions about the efficacy and safety of these supplements have emerged. In this Educational Paper, three different supplements were selected for consideration of the benefits and risks currently associated with their intake. The selected supplements include β-carotene, selenium, and genistein. The use of each is discussed in the context of preclinical and clinical data that provide evidence for both their use in reducing disease incidence and the possible liabilities that accompany their enhanced consumption. Variables that may influence their impact, such as lifestyle habits, baseline nutritional levels, and genetic makeup are considered and the application of these issues to broader classes of supplements is discussed.
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Article: Selenium for preventing cancer[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Selenium is a trace element essential to humans. Higher selenium exposure and selenium supplements have been suggested to protect against several types of cancers. Two research questions were addressed in this review: What is the evidence for1. an aetiological relationship between selenium exposure and cancer risk in women and men?2. the efficacy of selenium supplementation for cancer prevention in women and men? We searched electronic databases and bibliographies of reviews and included publications. We included prospective observational studies to answer research question (a) and randomised controlled trials (RCTs) to answer research question (b). We conducted random effects meta-analyses of epidemiological data when five or more studies were retrieved for a specific outcome. We made a narrative summary of data from RCTs. We included 49 prospective observational studies and six RCTs. In epidemiologic data, we found a reduced cancer incidence (summary odds ratio (OR) 0.69 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.53 to 0.91) and mortality (OR 0.55, 95% CI 0.36 to 0.83) with higher selenium exposure. Cancer risk was more pronouncedly reduced in men (incidence: OR 0.66, 95% CI 0.42 to 1.05) than in women (incidence: OR 0.90, 95% CI 0.45 to 1.77). These findings have potential limitations due to study design, quality and heterogeneity of the data, which complicated the interpretation of the summary statistics.The RCTs found no protective efficacy of selenium yeast supplementation against non-melanoma skin cancer or L-selenomethionine supplementation against prostate cancer. Study results for the prevention of liver cancer with selenium supplements were inconsistent and studies had an unclear risk of bias. The results of the Nutritional Prevention of Cancer Trial (NPCT) and SELECT raised concerns about possible harmful effects of selenium supplements. No reliable conclusions can be drawn regarding a causal relationship between low selenium exposure and an increased risk of cancer. Despite evidence for an inverse association between selenium exposure and the risk of some types of cancer, these results should be interpreted with care due to the potential limiting factors of heterogeneity and influences of unknown biases, confounding and effect modification.The effect of selenium supplementation from RCTs yielded inconsistent results. To date, there is no convincing evidence that selenium supplements can prevent cancer in men, women or children.Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) 01/2011; DOI:10.1002/14651858.CD005195.pub2 · 5.94 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Inflammation triggered by oxidative stress is the cause of much, perhaps even most, chronic human disease including human aging. The oxidative stress originates mainly in mitochondria from reactive oxygen and reactive nitrogen species (ROS/RNS) and can be identified in most of the key steps in the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis and the consequential clinical manifestations of cardiovascular disease. In addition to the formation of atherosclerosis, it involves lipid metabolism, plaque rupture, thrombosis, myocardial injury, apoptosis, fibrosis and failure. The recognition of the critical importance of oxidative stress has led to the enthusiastic use of antioxidants in the treatment and prevention of heart disease, but the results of prospective, randomized clinical trials have been overall disappointing. Can this contradiction be explained and what are its implications for the discovery/development of future antioxidant therapeutics?08/2011; 2011:514623. DOI:10.4061/2011/514623
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ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to assess the effect of a commercial enteral diet with added antioxidants on total plasma thiol, protein carbonyl and malondialdehyde levels of stroke survivors. METHODS: Fourteen patients from a general hospital who had been started on enteral nutrition 48 hours after a stroke were included in the study. The exclusion criteria were multiple organ dysfunction syndrome, liver failure and morbid obesity associated with diabetes Mellitus. The commercial diet was fed by continuous drip via infusion pump and contained mixed carotenoids, vitamins C and E, and the minerals selenium, zinc and copper. Blood samples were collected at baseline and after 5 days of enteral diet, but only from patients whose diet intake met their total energy expenditure. Total plasma thiol and protein carbonyl levels were determined by Ellman's reagent and dinitrophenylhydrazine, respectively. Plasma malondialdehyde levels were measured by the assay of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances. RESULTS: The mean age of the sample was M=70.3 years, (SD=14.1). All patients received more than 100% of the Dietary Reference Intakes for the abovementioned antioxidants but none exceeded the tolerable upper limit. Plasma thiol and malondialdehyde levels did not vary over time but protein carbonyl levels were significantly higher (p=0.034), especially in intubated patients (p=0.048). CONCLUSION: Biomarker determinations showed that a commercial enteral diet with added antioxidants did not reduce oxidative stress.Revista de Nutrição 04/2012; 25(2):247-257. DOI:10.1590/S1415-52732012000200007 · 0.35 Impact Factor