BACKGROUND: Many researchers believe that combinations of antioxidants -- so-called antioxidant cocktails -- provide greater benefits in reducing oxidation than individual antioxidants. Antioxidants may function synergistically in an interdependent network, reinforcing each other's benefits.
RESEARCH: Researchers conducted two experiments. In one, they measured the rate of oxidation in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, isolated from blood obtained from human subjects after an overnight fast. The LDL was oxidized with copper and incubated with vitamin E, vitamin C, beta-carotene, or various combinations of these antioxidants. In the other experiment, the researchers fed these antioxidants (plus selenium) to laboratory rats for 30 days, then compared oxidation rates in specific tissues to those of animals that did not receive antioxidants.
RESULTS: A combination of antioxidants was more effective than individual antioxidants in preventing oxidation of LDL isolated from human blood. A combination of vitamin E, vitamin C, and beta-carotene added to the incubation medium completely inhibited LDL oxidation. In the rat study, a multiple antioxidant preparation prevented oxidation in the membranes of heart cells and significantly reduced oxidation in liver cell membranes.
IMPLICATIONS: In this study, multiple antioxidants were more effective than individual ones in preventing LDL oxidation, an early step in the development of heart disease. Multiple antioxidants reduced oxidation in heart and liver cells of rats.
Konovalova GG, Lisina MO, Tikhaze AK, et al. "A complex of antioxidant vitamins effectively inhibits free-radical oxidation of LDL phospholipids in blood plasma and membrane structures of the liver and myocardium."
Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine, 2003;2:143-146.
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