Diet for Fibromyalgia
People who eat fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of heart disease and some neurological diseases and there is evidence that some types of vegetables, and fruits in general, may lower risk against some cancers. Since fruits and vegetables happen to be good sources of nutrients and phytochemicals, this suggested that antioxidant compounds might lower risk against several diseases.
This idea has been tested in a limited manner in clinical trials and does not seem to be true, as antioxidant supplements have no clear effect on the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. This suggests that these health benefits come from other substances in fruits and vegetables (possibly dietary fiber) or come from a complex mix of compounds. For example, the antioxidant effect of flavonoid-rich foods seems to be due to fructose-induced increases in the synthesis of the antioxidant uric acid and not to dietary antioxidants per se.
It is thought that oxidation of low density lipoprotein in the blood contributes to heart disease, and initial observational studies found that people taking Vitamin E supplements had a lower risk of developing heart disease. Consequently, at least seven large clinical trials were conducted to test the effects of antioxidant supplement with Vitamin E, in doses ranging from 50 to 600 mg per day. None of these trials found a statistically significant effect of Vitamin E on overall number of deaths or on deaths due to heart disease.
Further studies have also been negative. It is not clear if the doses used in these trials or in most dietary supplements are capable of producing any significant decrease in oxidative stress. Overall, despite the clear role of oxidative stress in cardiovascular disease, controlled studies using antioxidant vitamins have observed no reduction in either the risk of developing heart disease, or the rate of progression of existing disease.
While several trials have investigated supplements with high doses of antioxidants, the "Supplémentation en Vitamines et Mineraux Antioxydants" (SU.VI.MAX) study tested the effect of supplementation with doses comparable to those in ahealthy diet. The study concluded that low-dose antioxidant supplementation lowered total cancer incidence and all-cause mortality in men but not in women. Supplementation may be effective in men only because of their lower baseline status of certain antioxidants, especially of beta carotene.
Although some levels of antioxidant vitamins and minerals in the diet are required for good health, there is considerable doubt as to whether antioxidant supplements are beneficial or harmful; and if they are actually beneficial, which antioxidant(s) are needed and in what amounts. Indeed, some authors argue that the hypothesis that antioxidants could prevent chronic diseases has now been disproved and that the idea was misguided from the beginning. Rather, dietary polyphenols may have non-antioxidant roles in minute concentrations that affect cell-to-cell signaling, receptor sensitivity, inflammatory enzyme activity or gene regulation.
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