December 24, 2011

VITAMIN C AND AGING. Hmm. I’d like to see more studies on this.

UPDATE: Reader Joseph Schuster, MD writes:

Several years ago there were a number of studies concerning beta carotene, smokers and lung cancer. The first study was an epidemiological study suggesting beta carotene protected smokers from lung cancer.

The next several studies gave beta carotene to smokers (and a placebo to a control group) to see if it protected them from lung cancer. The study was cut short because beta carotene caused more lung cancers and a higher mortality. Here is a follow up study showing that the excess adverse events persistent even after the supplement was stopped.

It was then thought that beta carotene was a marker for a diet high in fruits and vegetables and that other unknown factors protected the smokers in the first study.

This study in Japanese women who did not take supplements may yet again be a similar red herring and that the high vitamin C level may simply be a marker for a diet high in fruits and vegetables and not the actual protective factor.

To prove any benefit would require a study giving vitamin C to people and then see what happens to health and well being and eventual longevity.

Until then eat your broccoli.

Yeah, that’s what I was getting at. Even if the high C levels just indicate vitamin-taking, my guess is that vitamin-takers are more conscientious about their health overall.

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