Vitamin and Mineral Supplements Lower Risk of Stroke
~ March 1998 No.39 ~
The best advice to anyone seeking nutrition counselling is still to eat a balanced diet, avoid foods that contain saturated and trans fatty acid, and include plenty of fruit and vegetables. But even the most conservative nutritionists are now starting to suggest that for many people the use of vitamin and mineral supplements may be a good idea. Even the most careful consumer often can’t get enough of specific vitamins and minerals that are being shown to be beneficial to health. This is because the studies that have shown the benefits of vitamins and minerals against disease and infection have used levels that are higher than one would get by eating even a normal healthy diet. As a result, supplements are becoming a common part of many people’s self-administered health program.
A new study carried out in China indicates that, for certain sectors of the population, vitamin and mineral supplements may be effective in reducing the risk of strokes. The five year study carried out in the province of Linxian reported the greatest effect of supplements in high risk patients - patients sixty years old or greater and those with high systolic blood pressure. Risk of stroke was reduced by 29% in those patients taking supplements containing vitamin A, zinc, beta-carotene, selenium and alpha-tocopherol. In contrast to the positive effects on stroke, taking vitamin / mineral supplements did not reduce high blood pressure. Those taking selenium supplements had a reduced overall mortality of 9% and a reduction of deaths due to cancer of 13%.
Looking at the ingredients of the supplements that were used in this Chinese study, it would appear that, once again, anitoxidants are showing that they may be beneficial to health. The vitamins and minerals that were used are either antioxidants themselves or are linked to the metabolism free radicals in the body. It would appear that any mechanism that can lead to the reduction of the number of free radicals in the body or that can speed up the removal of free radicals from cells can be beneficial to a wide range of diseases. This Chinese study adds stroke to the list of maladies that may be combated using anitoxidants.
Nutritional Supplements Lower the Risk of Stroke or Hypertension?
Epidemiology. 9(1):9, January 1998