A leading researcher at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) pointsout that there is little convincing evidence that dietary antioxidantsupplements such as vitamin E prevent heart disease, despite claims tothe contrary.
Instead there has been a surprise finding, which relates to asynthetic antioxidant, the drug Probucol, which is no longer prescribedin Australia.
"There has been a lot of hype which suggested that antioxidantvitamin supplements had a beneficial outcome for cardiovasculardisease. There is no good scientific support for the notion that peoplewho suffer from atherosclerosis, or who are at elevated risk of heartdisease, gain benefit by supplements of vitamin E," said ProfessorRoland Stocker, from the Centre for Vascular Research at UNSW, who willpresent his research at the ISTH Congress in Sydney today.
Stocker reported, "Our research is now leading towards thedevelopment of a new drug, based on Probucol. Probucol was previouslyused to reduce so-called "bad" cholesterol for those with heartdisease, but it also had side effects, such as reducing "good"cholesterol and possibly inducing an irregular heartbeat.
This new compound, which has a similar structure to probucol,is very effective in protecting against atherosclerosis (the principalcause of coronary heart disease) in animal models but doesn't have thesame side effects"
He went onto say, "We have shown that this novelprobucol-analog induces a pathway in the vessel wall which is bothanti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory. The early signs are that itprovides strong protection for blood vessel walls. We are nowprogressing these studies further with a pharmaceutical company."
"This compound potentially represents a new approach fortreating people with or at risk of heart disease � at the source of theproblem in the vessel wall. Vitamin E is not depleted or deficient inpeople with heart disease. It is in my view, a na�ve idea that vitaminE supplements would work," said Stocker.
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