Antioxidant Intake

February 17/Storrs, CT/Health & Medicine Week -- "The importance of antioxidants in reducing risks of chronic diseases has been well established; however, antioxidant intakes by a free-living population have not yet been estimated adequately. This study aimed to estimate total antioxidant intakes from diets and supplement sources in the U.S.," scientists report.

"The USDA Flavonoid Database, food consumption data and dietary supplement use data of 8,809 U.S. adults aged >= 19 years in NHANES 1999-2000 and 2001-2002 were used in this study. Daily total antioxidant intake was 208mg vitamin C (46% and 54% from diets and supplements, respectively), 20mg alpha-tocopherol (36% and 64%), 223mu g retinol activity equivalents carotenes (86% and 14%), 122mu g selenium (89% and 11%), and 210mg flavonoids (98% and 2%).

"Antioxidant intakes differed among sociodemographic subgroups and lifestyle behaviors. Energy-adjusted dietary antioxidant intakes were higher in women, older adults, Caucasians, nonconsumers of alcohol (only for vitamin C and carotenes), nonsmokers (only for vitamin C, vitamin E, and carotenes) and in those with a higher income and exercise level (except for flavonoids) than in their counterparts (P<0.05). Consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may be a good strategy to increase antioxidant intake," wrote O.K. Chun and colleagues, University of Connecticut.

The researchers concluded, "The possible association between antioxidant intake and the prevalence of chronic diseases should be investigated further."

Chun and colleagues published their study in the Journal of Nutrition ("Estimation of Antioxidant Intakes from Diet and Supplements in U.S. Adults." Journal of Nutrition, 2010;140(2):317-324).

For more information, contact O.K. Chun, University of Connecticut, Dept. of Nutrition Science, Storrs, CT 06269.

From the March 8, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition Special: Heart Health