By Michael A. Smith, MD
Well, it’s pretty clear to us — they’re nowhere to be found.
And that’s a major shame. A recent study, examining data in 32,561 women, found that an antioxidant-rich diet, including daily intake of fruits, vegetables, coffee and whole grains plays a role in preventing heart attacks.
Are reports of positive health benefits from non-drug sources somehow incompatible with Big Media? It certainly looks that way from here.
Anyway, let’s dig into the study we’re talking about.
Total Antioxidant Capacity and Your HeartThe American Journal of Medicine, one of the world’s most respected journals, published findings from Karolinska Institute in Sweden showing a reduced risk of heart attacks in women following a diet rich in antioxidants.1
The researchers calculated total antioxidant capacity in 32,561 healthy women, using a database that measures the oxygen radical absorption capacity (ORAC) of common foods in the United States.
Once the data was collected, the women were placed into five categories, indicating their daily capacity of dietary antioxidants.
Every year, the women completed the dietary questionnaire, in which they were asked how often they consumed each type of food or beverage on the survey.
During the study, 1,114 women suffered a heart attack. The researchers calculated that women in the highest category of antioxidant capacity had a 20% lower risk of a heart attack, when compared to women in lower antioxidant groups.
Accepted Limitations of the Antioxidant StudyThe study was an analysis from a large cohort study measuring the sensitivity of mammography for breast cancer screening. So, the original study wasn’t about heart disease or antioxidants. In reviews like this, researchers shouldn’t draw any definitive conclusions.
Secondly, the study used surveys to collect data on dietary habits of the women participating in the review. Surveys are notoriously unreliable and, as stated above, no definitive conclusions should be made.
We recognize and accept the limitations of the study. And we believe that the results warrant further investigation using prospective, randomized and controlled trials.
But even with its limitations, the study results should be reported by traditional media outlets. So why aren’t they reporting the results?
It’s Not Because of the Study LimitationsMainstream media simply does not care about study limitations. Just look at the latest omega-3 fish oil study. This seriously flawed study concluded that omega-3 oils do nothing for protecting your heart.
What did the media do with it? They posted it everywhere. The study even made morning talk shows. And this is despite its serious limitations.
So what are we supposed to think? A seriously flawed study against fish oil makes headline news, while a positive antioxidant study with known limitations is completely dismissed.
A study, by the way, that showed a potential risk reduction for our number one killer … a heart attack!
This is very frustrating.
What You Need to KnowAccording to a review of a large cohort study, daily antioxidants from fruits, vegetables, coffee and whole grains may reduce your risk of a heart attack. Again, it’s not a perfect study, but it certainly warrants further investigation.
Please share this post and the study reference below with your friends - especially since mainstream media isn’t reporting on it at all.
And this is what we are left with: A grassroots effort to share important health-related information that mainstream media ignores. So please, share away!
- Am J Med. 2012 Oct;125(10):974-80. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2012.03.008.
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