There is still a feeling embedded in the minds of the public, and many scientists, that antioxidants are good things (which is true), and the more antioxidants the better (which is probably not true). This Concise Monograph provides an overview of the state-of-the-art relating to free radicals, antioxidants and inflammation.
In recent years the value of antioxidants contained in our diet, or consumed in more concentrated form as additives and supplements, has been subject to intense scrutiny. Overall, the results of epidemiological studies, and more particularly intervention trials, have been confusing and contradictory and have given no compelling evidence that high-dose supplements of “antioxidant” vitamins and minerals can benefit human health, at least in the populations studied. In particular, no convincing evidence for protective effects of antioxidant supplements against the development of cancer and cardiovascular disease has been obtained.
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This work was commissioned by the Functional Foods Task Force.