What is an antioxidant?
Antioxidants are vitamins and minerals that help prevent oxygen from reacting with other chemicals in cells. Such reactions may damage cells in ways that make heart disease and cancer more likely. Examples of antioxidants are Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and beta-carotene. Vitamin E is the antioxidant that has been studied the most. Some medical research has shown that vitamin E can reduce the risk of heart attacks in people with heart disease.
Vitamin E is the antioxidant that has been studied the most. While some studies have found that vitamin E does reduce the risk of heart attacks, other studies dispute this claim. Also, it has not been proven that vitamin E can prevent people from getting heart disease or cancer. There's very little reliable information that shows a benefit from antioxidants other than vitamin E.
Studies of the antioxidants vitamin A, vitamin C, and beta-carotene have not shown them to prevent cancer or heart disease. If you have heart disease, your doctor may suggest that you take vitamin E. A safe and useful dose for improving antioxidant activity is 400 IU per day. Some people believe that natural forms of vitamin E may be more active than synthetic forms, but this has not been proven.