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Low-dose antioxidants help men, not women



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PARIS, Nov 22, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- French researchers found low-dose antioxidant supplements may reduce the risk of cancer among men, but not in women.

Dr. Serge Hercberg, of the Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale and Unite de Surveillance et d'Epidemiologie Nutritionnelle in Paris, tested the efficacy of dietary supplements among 13,017 French adults over an average 7.5 years.

Participants were randomly assigned to take either a daily capsule containing 120 milligrams of ascorbic acid, 30 milligrams of vitamin E, six milligrams of beta carotene, 100 micrograms of selenium, and 20 milligrams of zinc; or a placebo capsule. The researchers found no differences between the antioxidant and placebo group in terms of cancer incidence or in cardiovascular disease incidence or all-cause death.

However, the researchers found a significant protective effect of the antioxidants in men, who were 31 percent less likely to develop cancer than women.

"Supplementation may be effective in men only because of their lower baseline status of certain antioxidants, especially of beta carotene," the researchers wrote in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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