News

Antioxidants may not reduce rheumatoid arthritis risk

June 14, 2010

Antioxidants like vitamins A, vitamin C, vitamin E and carotenoids may not reduce the risk of chronic inflammatory diseases in women, says a new US study.

Among 184,643 US women followed in the ‘Nurses’ Health Study,’ the researchers identified 787 cases of rheumatoid arthritis and 192 cases of systemic lupus erythematosus (1). Based on food frequency questionnaires, intakes of vitamins A, C, and E and several carotenoids from foods and supplements were assessed. The results showed that antioxidant intake was not associated with the risk of developing either rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Experts have criticized the study because it is not surprising that no relationships between self-reported food intakes and multifactorial diseases such as RA and SLE were shown. The causes of RA and SLE are unknown and are active areas of worldwide research. It is believed that the tendency to develop the chronic diseases may be genetically inherited and that certain infections or factors in the environment might trigger the activation of the immune system in susceptible individuals. While RA causes inflammation mainly of the joints and the tissue around the joints, SLE affects the skin, joints, kidneys, and other organs. RA and SLE are autoimmune diseases showing an overactive immune response that attacks healthy cells and tissue leading to long-term inflammation.

References

  1. Costenbader K.H. et al. Antioxidant Intake and Risks of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in Women. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2010.