A major review has found no evidence that taking antioxidant supplements will extend your life. In fact, there are even cases where taking supplements could do more harm than good, researchers say.
The findings are based on a Cochrane review of some 67 randomized trials involving just under 250,000 people.
“We could find no evidence to support taking antioxidant supplements to reduce the risk of dying earlier in healthy people or patients with various diseases,” says Goran Bjelakovic, who performed the review, in a press release.
Not only did the review find that most supplements don’t help to prolong your life, they found that some – beta carotene, vitamin A and vitamin E – may even be harmful for some people. For example, numerous studies have shown that beta carotene supplements can increase lung cancer risk, particularly in smokers.
Before you let this study scare you off the idea of antioxidants being good for your health altogether, it’s important to note that the focus of the review was on supplements. There’s tons of research to support the idea that getting these compounds from dietary sources offers a wealth of heath benefits. (Check out our slideshow of disease-fighting foods for just a few examples).
“The bottom line is that current evidence does not support the use of antioxidant supplements in the general healthy population or in patients with certain diseases,” said Bjelakovic.
Do you use supplements? And do studies like this impact your use? Weigh in here.