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Beta carotene

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

Women randomly assigned to receive 50 mg of the antioxidant on alternate days showed "no statistically significant differences in incidence of cancer, cardiovascular disease or total mortality after a median of 4.1 years," Women's Health Study researchers report in the December Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Over a median treatment duration of 2.1 years, 19,939 women received beta carotene and an equal number were given placebo; follow-up lasted for two years. The study recorded 378 cancers in the beta carotene group compared to 369 among controls, 42 instances of MI compared to 50 for controls and 61 cases of stroke compared to 43 for controls. The results mirror those from other studies, including the Carotene & Retinol Efficacy Trial and the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta Carotene Cancer Prevention study

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Supplementation with beta carotene may inhibit the progression of lesions leading to stomach cancer - a finding contrary to previous studies that reported the carotenoid to be ineffective at preventing cancer.

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