||Antioxidants: A Research Review|
|Antioxidants in Health and
Disease: The Big Picture
E. Cheraskin, MD, DMD
(Reprinted with permission of the author and the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine 10: #2, 89-96, Second Quarter, 1995.)
This report is intended to cast additional light on the subject It is suggested that, viewed in the bigger picture, the total body concept, significant changes in macular degeneration and other diseases may occur when larger-than-recommended amounts of the antioxidants are supplied. Additionally, it is proposed that the therapy be instituted for longer periods of time and begun earlier in life. It is hoped that this report will continue more action in the pursuit of this approach to macular degeneration.
This report will outline evidence to show that the antioxidants are necessary, singly, in combinations, in larger amounts than generally held, and must be started much earlier in life. Hence, we will attempt to emphasize the relationship of antioxidants to common disorders such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, cataracts, and macular degeneration as well as other syndromes through an examination of 40 representative studies in the English language literature.
Vitamin A Studies
It is generally recognized that vitamin A blood levels below 10 mcg% are considered evidence of obvious deficiency. (12) Olson contends that the normal range is 20 to 50 mcg% and therefore anything above 50 is high.
Table 2 summarizes the studies on vitamin A in the blood in health and sickness. You will note that the reports shown suggest that what Olson call high levels are probably the desired amounts.
Vitamin C Studies
Back in the '40s, the Interdepartmental Committee on Nutrition for National Defense (ICNND) began to set the standards for optimal plasma vitamin C. Originally, acceptability was anything above 0.1 mg%. Through the '40s, the figures were changed to 0.2 and then 0.4 mg%. Most of the literature today considers 0.4 mg% as being a satisfactory blood vitamin C level. In this connection, Block points out that 15% of white men, 65-74 years of age, in the U.S. today have blood ascorbate levels below 0.4 mg%.(23) Chandra views 0.5 to 2.0 mg% as the acceptable range. (24) It is clear from Table 4 that the best clinical results parallel plasma levels above 1.0 mg%. (17, 25-28)
Vitamin E Studies
There is not much in the literature regarding
the optimal blood vitamin E levels. MachIm, in his book (34) indicates
that anything less than 0.7 mg% is deficient, levels between 0.7 and 0.9
are low, and values above 0.9 mg% are acceptable. Simonoff adds the fact
that the blood levels of vitamin E are different in the sexes and at different
ages. (35) For example, in the young adult, the values should be
1.6 to 1.9 mg% and decrease with age to 0.9 to 1.1 mg% in the elderly.
In the light of these so-called norms, it is interesting (Table 6) that
salutary effects seem to parallel higher blood vitamin E levels. (14, 36-39)
Table 7 outlines the relationship of dietary beta carotene to some of our major problems. (40-44) There seems to be no question but that beta carotene in larger-than-generally recommended amounts exert salutary effects.
In line with our earlier format, Table 8 outlines the blood carotene levels. (14, 45-48) In general, the levels in health are considerably larger than those with illness.
The Antioxidant Index
Since the disturbances associated with aging and these age-related diseases are characterized by a long incubation period and an insidious clinical course, the question of when one should institute an antioxidant program is still unresolved. The one thing we know for sure is starting when the disease appears is too late.
Summary and Conclusions
(Table 1 in the original paper contains Dietary Vitamin A Levels)
Reference # 6/ Precancer
#9/Respiratory Tract Infections
(Table 2 in the original paper contains Blood Vitamin A Levels)
Reference # 13/Measles
#14/ Alzheimer's Disease
#16/ Bronchopulmonary Disease
#17/ Cardiovascular Disease
(Table 3 in the original paper contains Dietary Vitamin C Levels)
#22/ Cardiovascular Disease
(Table 4 in the original paper contains Blood Vitamin C Levels)
Reference #25/Periodontal Disease
#26/ Macular Degeneration
(Table 5 in the original paper contains Dietary Vitamin E Levels)
Reference #29/ Cardiovascular Disease
(Table 6 in the original paper contains Blood Vitamin E Levels)
Reference #36/ Immune Response
#38/ Macular Degeneration
(Table 7 in the original paper contains Dietary Beta Carotene Levels)
Reference #40/ Cardiovascular Disease
#42/ Immune Response
(Table 8 in the original paper contains Blood Carotenoid Levels)
Reference #14/ Alzheimer's Disease
#47/ Macular Degeneration
#48/ Cardiovascular Disease
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Andrew Saul, PhD
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