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Acta Médica Costarricense

On-line version ISSN 0001-6002Print version ISSN 0001-6012


GOMEZ-SALAS, Georgina. Micronutrients and Chronic Diseases: Which Way Is The Scientific Evidence Pointing To?. Acta méd. costarric [online]. 2009, vol.51, n.3, pp.147-154. ISSN 0001-6002.

Observational studies have consistently demonstrated a positive association between high fruits and vegetables intake and a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, cerebrovascular disease, and other chronic diseases. Under the premise that vitamin and mineral supplements can have the same effects of those naturally found in food, many people are using them to prevent or treat chronic diseases. But in spite of intensive research, the benefitial effect of antioxidant supplements is still not clear. The US National Institute of Health states that there is not enough evidence to recommend or discourage the use of multivitamin supplements to prevent chronic diseases. Growing scientific data questions the benefitial value of supplementing with antioxidant vitamins, in well nourished population and raises the possibility that they may not be safe compared with vitamin consumption within a healthy diet. Meta-analyses of randomized trials have failed to demonstrate that supplementations with antioxidant vitamins can have benefitial effects on mortality. Even more, some analyses suggested that β-carotenes, vitamin A or vitamin E can increase the risk of death.

Keywords : supplements; vitamins; minerals; chronic diseases.

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