Antioxidants and Free Radicals in the Body
Research Shows Mixed Results
Too Much of a Good Thing?
Benefits of Dietary Changes Are Clear
|Antioxidant||Recommended Amount*||Good Food Sources|
Women: 75 mg
Men: 90 mg
Smokers: extra 35 mg
|Citrus fruits; vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and kale|
|Vitamin E||15 mg||Fortified cereals, vegetable oils, nuts, mangoes, and wheat germ|
|Selenium||55 micrograms (mcg)||Tuna, ham, brown rice, whole wheat bread|
Women: 700 REA**
Men: 900 REA
Eggs, liver, vitamin A-fortified milk
Yellow-orange or dark-green leafy vegetables and fruits, such as kale, beet greens, spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, papaya, apricots, parsley, and basil
*Recommended amounts are given as dietary reference intakes (DRIs), which replace recommended dietary allowances (RDAs); these are the government's recommendations for good health.
**REA = retinol equivalents; a measurement of vitamin A that includes the two major forms of vitamin A found in foods: retinol and beta-carotene. There is no separate DRI set for beta-carotene.
Are Supplements Necessary?
American Heart Association http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/
National Cancer Institute http://www.cancer.gov/
National Institute on Aging http://www.nia.nih.gov/
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca/
Canadian Cardiovascular Society http://www.ccs.ca/
Antioxidant Supplements for Health: An Introduction. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine website. Available at: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/antioxidants/. Updated May 2010. Accessed July 8, 2010.
Calvagna, M. Selenium. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/. Updated February 2009. Accessed July 8, 2010.
Food and Nutrition Information Center. US Department of Agriculture website. Available at: http://www.usda.gov/. Accessed June 30, 2008.
The heart outcomes prevention evaluation study investigators, vitamin E supplementation and cardiovascular events in high-risk women. N Engl J Med. 2000;342:154-160.
Luchsinger JA, Mayeux R. Dietary factors and Alzheimer's disease. Lancet Neurol. 2004;3(10):579-87.
Meydani M. Nutrition interventions in aging and age-associated disease. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2001;928:226-235.
Miller ER, Pastor-Barriuso R, Dalal D, Riemersma RA, Appel LJ, Guallar E. Meta-analysis: high-dosage vitamin E supplementation may increase all-cause mortality. Ann Intern Med. 2005;142(1):37-46.
Stanner SA, Hughes J, Kelly CN, Buttriss J. A review of the epidemiological evidence for the 'antioxidant hypothesis'. Public Health Nutr. 2004;7(3):407-422.
- Reviewer: Brian P. Randall, MD
- Review Date: 07/2010 -
- Update Date: 07/26/2012 -