To the Editor: Could the lack of effect of vitamin C and E supplements found by Dr Sesso and colleagues1 be due to their mode of administration? Naturally occurring antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, are integral components of food. After a meal, these antioxidants will be absorbed synchronously with all other digested food components. Circulating blood levels of these antioxidants will thus be maximal during the postprandial period. This coincides with the period of maximum oxidative stress, when intense mitochondrial activity accompanies the metabolic processing of digested food.2 Naturally occurring antioxidants may therefore act synchronously to limit food-induced oxidative stress, a major source of oxidative stress in a Western lifestyle.3 The bioavailability of natural foodborne antioxidants appears ideally suited to resist the effects of diet-induced oxidative stress.
Evans JM. Antioxidant Supplements and Cardiovascular Disease in Men. JAMA. 2009;301(13):1335-1337. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.315