Vitamin pills linked to bad cholesterol


Vitamin pills linked to bad cholesterol
United Press International

Tuesday, May 4, 2004

NEW YORK, May 04, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A study at New York University has opened the possibility that antioxidant vitamins could increase the body's production of bad LDL cholesterol.

The notion that antioxidant vitamins such as C, E, and beta carotene provide a safe, convenient way to protect the heart from disease could be fallible, based on the study by NYU School of Medicine researcher Dr. Edward Fisher.

Overall, antioxidants usually have been considered healthful. The vitamins scavenge "free radicals," which are highly reactive and damaging forms of oxygen produced by natural metabolic processes in the body and by external sources like the sun's UV rays, ozone, and toxins in pesticides, among other things.

Antioxidants do have beneficial affects on other parts of the body, said Fisher. The molecules, for example, have been shown in some animal studies to protect the arteries from atherosclerosis and the pancreas and other organs from damage caused by diabetes.

"Until more data becomes available, we can't make any recommendations about whether people should not use these vitamins," Fisher said.

The study is published in the May issue of the "Journal of Clinical Investigation."