2004 年 9 巻 5 号 p. 200-213
Cardiovascular disease constitutes a major public health concern in industrialised nations. Over recent decades, a large body of evidence has accumulated indicating that free radicals play a critical role in cellular processes implicated in atherosclerosis. Herein, we present a mechanism of oxidative stress, focusing mainly on the development of an oxidised low density lipoprotein, and the results of a clinical trial of antioxidant therapy and epidemiological studies on the relationships between nutrient antioxidants, such as vitamin E, vitamin C, β-carotene, coenzyme Q, flavonoids and L-arginine, and coronary events. These studies indicated that a diet high in antioxidants is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, but did not confirm a strong causality link. With regard to vitamin E, observational studies suggested that the daily use of at least 400 International Units of vitamin E is associated with beneficial effects on coronary events. However, it is apparently too early to define the clinical benefits of vitamin E for cardiovascular disease. From the results of several randomised interventional trials, it appears that no single antioxidant given to subjects at high doses has substantial benefits, and the question of whether nutrient antioxidants truly protect against cardiovascular disease remains open. This article provides an overview of the epidemiological and clinical studies related to antioxidants and cardiovascular disease.