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Antioxidant Vitamins

Your lymphatic system can basically be though of as the body's sewer system. It collects waste, carries them through and helps eliminate them from you body. With lymphedema, this system is severely damaged and is unable to perform the function it is suppose to. So it needs and extra boost, as helping hand as it were to help clean these waste from your body.
Antioxidant vitamins give it that extra boost, and helps eliminate waste and radical free agent (by products of the body's metabolic action).

Antioxidant vitamins are defined as nutrients (vitamins) or enzymes that help clean up damaging free radicals that damage our body tissues and which have been implicated as a causative agent in many diseases and conditions. Radical free agents come from our body's metabolic process, smoking, alcohol, and even the pollution of our modern world.

A list of antioxidants include:

1. Vitamins A, C, E, and beta-carotene
2. Lycopene - for example is found in tomatoes
3. Flavonoids - found in gilkg biloba, black cherries, blackberries, blueberries (also bynzopyrones belong in the flavonoid family)
4. Quericetin - a specialized flavonoid.
5. Coenzyme Q10 - a vitamin-like substance
6. Selenium - indirectly an antioxidant as it is required for the production of the major antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase

Pat O'Connor

June 18, 2008


Abstracts and Studies:


Antioxidant vitamins C and E improve endothelial function in children with hyperlipidemia: Endothelial Assessment of Risk from Lipids in Youth (EARLY) Trial


Engler MM, Engler MB, Malloy MJ, Chiu EY, Schloetter MC, Paul SM, Stuehlinger M, Lin KY, Cooke JP, Morrow JD, Ridker PM, Rifai N, Miller E, Witztum JL, Mietus-Snyder M.

University of California, San Francisco, 2 Koret Way, Rm N631, San Francisco, Calif 94143-0610, USA.


Ascorbic acid reverses endothelial vasomotor dysfunction in patients with coronary artery disease.

Levine GN, Frei B, Koulouris SN, Gerhard MD, Keaney JF Jr, Vita JA.

Evans Memorial Department of Medicine, Boston University Medical Center, MA 02118, USA.

BACKGROUND: In the setting of atherosclerosis, endothelial vasomotor function is abnormal. Increased oxidative stress has been implicated as one potential mechanism for this observation. We therefore hypothesized that an antioxidant, ascorbic acid, would improve endothelium-dependent arterial dilation in patients with coronary artery disease. METHODS AND RESULTS: Brachial artery endothelium-dependent dilation in response to hyperemia was assessed by high-resolution vascular ultrasound before and 2 hours after oral administration of either 2 g ascorbic acid or placebo in a total of 46 patients with documented coronary artery disease. Plasma ascorbic acid concentration increased 2.5-fold 2 hours after treatment (46+/-8 to 114+/-11 micromol/L, P=.001). In the prospectively defined group of patients with an abnormal baseline response (<5% dilation), ascorbic acid produced marked improvement in dilation (2.0+/-0.6% to 9.7+/-2.0%), whereas placebo had no effect (1.1+/-1.5% to 1.7+/-1.5%, P=.003 for ascorbic acid versus placebo). Ascorbic acid had no effect on hyperemic flow or arterial dilation to sublingual nitroglycerin. CONCLUSIONS: Ascorbic acid reverses endothelial vasomotor dysfunction in the brachial circulation of patients with coronary artery disease. These findings suggest that increased oxidative stress contributes to endothelial dysfunction in patients with atherosclerosis and that endothelial dysfunction may respond to antioxidant therapy



Oral vitamin C and endothelial function in smokers: short-term improvement, but no sustained beneficial effect.

Raitakari OT, Adams MR, McCredie RJ, Griffiths KA, Stocker R, Celermajer DS.

Department of Cardiology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, Australia.

OBJECTIVES: To test the hypothesis that antioxidant therapy would improve endothelial function in smokers. BACKGROUND: Several studies have documented a beneficial effect of short-term oral or parenteral vitamin C on endothelial physiology in subjects with early arterial dysfunction. Possible long-term effects of vitamin C on endothelial function, however, are not known. METHODS: We studied the effects of short- and long-term oral vitamin C therapy on endothelial function in 20 healthy young adult smokers (age 36 +/- 6 years, 8 male subjects, 21 +/- 10 pack-years). Each subject was studied at baseline, 2 h after a single dose of 2 g vitamin C and 8 weeks after taking 1 g vitamin C daily, and after placebo, in a randomized double-blind crossover study. Blood samples were analyzed for plasma ascorbate levels and endothelial function was measured as flow-mediated dilation of the brachial artery, using high resolution ultrasound. Nitroglycerin-mediated dilation (endothelium-independent) was also measured at each visit. RESULTS: At baseline, plasma ascorbate level was low in the smokers (42 +/- 21 micromol/liter; normal range, 50 to 150 micromol/liter), increased with vitamin C therapy after 2 h to 120 +/- 54 micromol/liter (p < 0.001) and remained elevated after eight weeks of supplementation at 92 +/- 32 micromol/liter (p < 0.001, compared with placebo). Flow-mediated dilation, however, increased at 2 h (from 2.8 +/- 2.0% to 6.3 +/- 2.8%, p < 0.001), but there was no sustained beneficial effect after eight weeks (3.9 +/- 3.2%, p = 0.26). Nitroglycerin-mediated dilation was unchanged throughout. CONCLUSION: Oral vitamin C therapy improves endothelial dysfunction in the short term in healthy young smokers, but it has no beneficial long-term effect, despite sustained elevation of plasma ascorbate levels.



Randomized, controlled trial of antioxidant vitamins and cardioprotective diet on hyperlipidemia, oxidative stress, and development of experimental atherosclerosis: the diet and antioxidant trial on atherosclerosis (DATA).

Singh RB, Niaz AM, Ghosh S, Agarwal P, Ahmad S, Begum R, Onouchi Z, Kummerow FA.

Heart Research Laboratory and Centre of Nutrition Research, Medical Hospital and Research Centre, Moradabad, India.

The effects of administration of guava and papaya fruit (100 g/day), vegetables, and mustard oil (5 g/day) (group A); antioxidant vitamins C (50 mg/day) and E (30 mg/day), plus betacarotene (10 mg/day) (group B); a high-fat (5-10 g/day) (group C); or a low-fat (4-5 g/day) diet (group D) were compared over 24 diet weeks in a randomized fashion, while all groups of rabbits (five in each of four groups) received a hydrogenated fat diet (5-10 g/day) for a period of 36 weeks. After 12 weeks on the high-fat diet, each group of rabbits had an increase in blood lipoproteins. The fruit and vegetable-enriched prudent diet (group A) caused a significant decline in blood lipids at 24 and 36 weeks, whereas the lipid levels increased significantly in groups C and D. Group A also had a significant rise in vitamin E (2.1 Umol/l), C (10.5 Umol/l), A (0.66 Umol/l), and carotene (0.08 Umol/l) and a decrease in lipid peroxides (0.34 nmol/ml at 36 weeks, whereas the levels were unchanged in groups C and D. Group B rabbits had a significant and greater increase than group A in plasma vitamins E, C, A, and carotene; a rise in HDL cholesterol; and a greater decrease in lipid peroxides after 24 and 36 weeks of treatment. After stimulation of lipid peroxidation in all rabbits, 3 of 5 group C and 2 of 5 group D rabbits died due to coronary thrombosis, whereas in groups A and B there were no deaths, indicating that antioxidant therapy can provide protection against lipid peroxidation and free radical generation. Aortic lipids and sudanophilia, indicating atherosclerosis, were significantly higher in groups C and D than in groups A and B. Fatty streaks and atheromatous and fibrous plaques were noted in all the rabbits in groups C and D. Intimal fibrosis and medial degeneration were also present in the group C rabbits. While group A (36.4 +/- 4.4 microns) and group B (37.1 +/- 4.2 microns) rabbits had minimal coronary artery plaque sizes, group C (75.4 +/- 10.6 microns) and group D rabbits (69.5 +/- 6.2 microns) had significantly greater plaque sizes. Aortic plaque sizes were also greater in groups C and D than in groups A and B. It is possible that combined therapy with antioxidant vitamins C, E, and carotene, and a diet rich in antioxidants, could independently inhibit free radical generation and the development of atherosclerosis.



Vitamin B12 protects against superoxide-induced cell injury in human aortic endothelial cells. Aug 2011

Moreira ES, Brasch NE, Yun J.


Integrative Medical Sciences, Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy, Rootstown, OH 44272, USA.


Superoxide (O(2)(•-)) is implicated in inflammatory states including arteriosclerosis and ischemia-reperfusion injury. Cobalamin (Cbl) supplementation is beneficial for treating many inflammatory diseases and also provides protection in oxidative-stress-associated pathologies. Reduced Cbl reacts with O(2)(•-) at rates approaching that of superoxide dismutase (SOD), suggesting a plausible mechanism for its anti-inflammatory properties. Elevated homocysteine (Hcy) is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease and endothelial dysfunction. Hcy increases O(2)(•-) levels in human aortic endothelial cells (HAEC). Here, we explore the protective effects of Cbl in HAEC exposed to various O(2)(•-) sources, including increased Hcy levels. Hcy increased O(2)(•-) levels (1.6-fold) in HAEC, concomitant with a 20% reduction in cell viability and a 1.5-fold increase in apoptotic death. Pretreatment of HAEC with physiologically relevant concentrations of cyanocobalamin (CNCbl) (10-50nM) prevented Hcy-induced increases in O(2)(•-) and cell death. CNCbl inhibited both Hcy and rotenone-induced mitochondrial O(2)(•-) production. Similarly, HAEC challenged with paraquat showed a 1.5-fold increase in O(2)(•-) levels and a 30% decrease in cell viability, both of which were prevented with CNCbl pretreatment. CNCbl also attenuated elevated O(2)(•-) levels after exposure of cells to a Cu/Zn-SOD inhibitor. Our data suggest that Cbl acts as an efficient intracellular O(2)(•-) scavenger.


Vitamin C as an antioxidant supplement in women's health: a myth in need of urgent burial. Jul 2011


The role of vitamins in the prevention and treatment of thyroid disorders 2011


Yellow nail syndrome in three siblings: a randomized double-blind trial of topical vitamin E. - Jul 2006


Lymphedema and vitamins


Antioxidant vitamins and cancer risk: is oxidative damage to DNA a relevant biomarker? - May 2008


Effect of folic acid and B vitamins on risk of cardiovascular events and total mortality among women at high risk for cardiovascular disease: a randomized trial. - May 2008


Dietary supplement use and risk of neoplastic progression in esophageal adenocarcinoma: a prospective study. - Jan 2008


Effects of short-term garlic supplementation on lipid metabolism and antioxidant status in hypertensive adults. - May 2008


Antioxidant supplements for prevention of mortality in healthy participants and patients with various diseases. - April 2008


Antioxidants and CVD.- May 2008


Observational studies on the effect of dietary antioxidants on asthma: a meta-analysis. - June 2008


The utility of vitamin K3 (menadione) against pancreatic cancer. - Jan 2008


General Articles:



What is selenium?

Selenium is a trace mineral that is essential to good health but required only in small amounts [1,2]. Selenium is incorporated into proteins to make selenoproteins, which are important antioxidant enzymes. The antioxidant properties of selenoproteins help prevent cellular damage from free radicals. Free radicals are natural by-products of oxygen metabolism that may contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease [2,3]. Other selenoproteins help regulate thyroid function and play a role in the immune system [4-7].

What foods provide selenium?

Plant foods are the major dietary sources of selenium in most countries throughout the world. The content of selenium in food depends on the selenium content of the soil where plants are grown or animals are raised. For example, researchers know that soils in the high plains of northern Nebraska and the Dakotas have very high levels of selenium. People living in those regions generally have the highest selenium intakes in the United States (U.S.) [8]. In the U.S., food distribution patterns across the country help prevent people living in low-selenium geographic areas from having low dietary selenium intakes. Soils in some parts of China and Russia have very low amounts of selenium. Selenium deficiency is often reported in those regions because most food in those areas is grown and eaten locally.

Selenium also can be found in some meats and seafood. Animals that eat grains or plants that were grown in selenium-rich soil have higher levels of selenium in their muscle. In the U.S., meats and bread are common sources of dietary selenium [9,10]. Some nuts are also sources of selenium.

Selenium content of foods can vary. For example, Brazil nuts may contain as much as 544 micrograms of selenium per ounce. They also may contain far less selenium. It is wise to eat Brazil nuts only occasionally because of their unusually high intake of selenium. Selected food sources of selenium are provided in Table 1 [11].

Table 1: Selected food sources of selenium [11]
Food Micrograms
Brazil nuts, dried, unblanched, 1 ounce 544 780
Tuna, light, canned in oil, drained, 3 ounces 63 95
Beef, cooked, 3½ ounces 35 50
Spaghetti w/ meat sauce, frozen entrée, 1 serving 34 50
Cod, cooked, 3 ounces 32 45
Turkey, light meat, roasted, 3½ ounces 32 45
Beef chuck roast, lean only, roasted, 3 ounces 23 35
Chicken Breast, meat only, roasted, 3½ ounces 20 30
Noodles, enriched, boiled, 1/2 cup 17 25
Macaroni, elbow, enriched, boiled, 1/2 cup 15 20
Egg, whole, 1 medium 14 20
Cottage cheese, low fat 2%, 1/2 cup 12 15
Oatmeal, instant, fortified, cooked, 1 cup 12 15
Rice, white, enriched, long grain, cooked, 1/2 cup 12 15
Rice, brown, long-grained, cooked, 1/2 cup 10 15
Bread, enriched, whole wheat, commercially prepared, 1 slice 10 15
Walnuts, black, dried, 1 ounce 5 8
Bread, enriched, white, commercially prepared, 1 slice 4 6
Cheddar cheese, 1 ounce 4 6

*DV = Daily Value. DVs are reference numbers developed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help consumers determine if a food contains a lot or a little of a specific nutrient. The DV for selenium is 70 micrograms (ug). Most food labels do not list a food's selenium content. The percent DV (%DV) listed on the table indicates the percentage of the DV provided in one serving. A food providing 5% of the DV or less is a low source while a food that provides 10-19% of the DV is a good source. A food that provides 20% or more of the DV is high in that nutrient. It is important to remember that foods that provide lower percentages of the DV also contribute to a healthful diet. For foods not listed in this table, please refer to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Nutrient Database Web site:

What is the recommended dietary intake for selenium?

Recommendations for selenium are provided in the Dietary Reference Intakes developed by the Institute of Medicine [12]. Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) is the general term for a set of reference values used for planning and assessing nutrient intake for healthy people. Three important types of reference values included in the DRIs are Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA), Adequate Intakes (AI), and Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (UL). The RDA recommends the average daily dietary intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97-98%) healthy individuals in each age and gender group [12]. An AI is set when there is insufficient scientific data available to establish a RDA. AIs meet or exceed the amount needed to maintain a nutritional state of adequacy in nearly all members of a specific age and gender group. The UL, on the other hand, is the maximum daily intake unlikely to result in adverse health effects [12]. Table 2 lists the RDAs for selenium, in micrograms (μg) per day, for children and adults.

Table 2: Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for selenium for children and adults [12]
Males and Females
1-3 y 20 N/A N/A
4-8 y 30 N/A N/A
9-13 y 40 N/A N/A
14-18 y 55 60 70
19 y + 55 60 70

There is insufficient information on selenium to establish a RDA for infants. An Adequate Intake (AI) has been established that is based on the amount of selenium consumed by healthy infants who are fed breast milk [12]. Table 3 lists the AIs for selenium, in micrograms (μg) per day, for infants.

Table 2: Adequate Intake for selenium for infants [12]
Males and Females
0-6 months 15
7-12 months 20

Results of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III-1988-94) indicated that diets of most Americans provide recommended amounts of selenium [13]. The INTERMAP study examined nutrient intakes of almost 5,000 middle-aged men and women in four countries in the late 1990s, including the U.S. The primary aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of dietary micronutrients on blood pressure. Each study participant completed four, 24-hour dietary recalls, during which they were asked to record everything consumed (food, beverages, and dietary supplements) over the previous 24 hours. Selenium intake was lowest among residents of China, the country with the highest known rate of selenium deficiency. Mean dietary intake of selenium of U.S. participants was 153 μg for men and 109 μg for women. Both values exceed the recommended selenium intake for adults and are further evidence of adequate selenium intakes in the U.S. [14].

When can selenium deficiency occur?

Human selenium deficiency is rare in the U.S. but is seen in other countries, most notably China, where soil concentration of selenium is low [15]. There is evidence that selenium deficiency may contribute to development of a form of heart disease, hypothyroidism, and a weakened immune system [16,17]. There is also evidence that selenium deficiency does not usually cause illness by itself. Rather, it can make the body more susceptible to illnesses caused by other nutritional, biochemical or infectious stresses [18].

Three specific diseases have been associated with selenium deficiency:
  • Keshan Disease, which results in an enlarged heart and poor heart function, occurs in selenium deficient children.
  • Kashin-Beck Disease, which results in osteoarthropathy
  • Myxedematous Endemic Cretinism, which results in mental retardation

    Keshan disease was first described in the early 1930s in China, and is still seen in large areas of the Chinese countryside with selenium poor soil [18]. Dietary intake in these areas is less than 19 micrograms per day for men and less than 13 micrograms per day for women, significantly lower than the current RDA for selenium [12]. Researchers believe that selenium deficient people infected with a specific virus are most likely to develop Keshan disease [18,19].

    Selenium deficiency has also been seen in people who rely on total parenteral nutrition (TPN) as their sole source of nutrition [20,21]. TPN is a method of feeding nutrients through an intravenous (IV) line to people whose digestive systems do not function. Forms of nutrients that do not require digestion are dissolved in liquid and infused through the IV line. It is important for TPN solutions to provide selenium in order to prevent a deficiency [22]. Physicians can monitor the selenium status of individuals receiving TPN to make sure they are receiving adequate amounts.

    Severe gastrointestinal disorders may decrease the absorption of selenium, resulting in selenium depletion or deficiency [23]. Gastrointestinal problems that impair selenium absorption usually affect absorption of other nutrients as well, and require routine monitoring of nutritional status so that appropriate medical and nutritional treatment can be provided.

    Who may need supplemental selenium?

    In the U.S., most cases of selenium depletion or deficiency are associated with severe gastrointestinal problems, such as Crohn's disease, or with surgical removal of part of the stomach. These and other gastrointestinal disorders can impair selenium absorption [24-26]. People with acute severe illness who develop inflammation and widespread infection often have decreased levels of selenium in their blood [27]. Physicians will evaluate individuals who have gastrointestinal disease or severe infection for depleted blood levels of selenium to determine the need for supplementation.

    People with iodine deficiency may also benefit from selenium supplementation. Iodine deficiency is rare in the U.S., but is still common in developing countries where access to iodine is limited [28]. Researchers believe that selenium deficiency may worsen the effects of iodine deficiency on thyroid function, and that adequate selenium nutritional status may help protect against some of the neurological effects of iodine deficiency [6,7]. Researchers involved in the Supplementation en Vitamines et Mineraux AntioXydants (SU.VI.MAX) study in France, which was designed to assess the effect of vitamin and mineral supplements on chronic disease risk, evaluated the relationship between goiter and selenium in a subset of this research population. Their findings suggest that selenium supplements may be protective against goiter, which refers to enlargement of the thyroid gland [29].

    As noted above, selenium supplementation during TPN administration is now routine [21,22]. While specific medical problems such as those described above indicate a need for selenium supplementation, evidence is lacking for recommending selenium supplements for healthy children and adults.

    Selenium supplements
    Selenium occurs in staple foods such as corn, wheat, and soybean as selenomethionine, the organic selenium analogue of the amino acid methionine [30,31]. Selenomethionine can be incorporated into body proteins in place of methionine, and serves as a vehicle for selenium storage in organs and tissues. Selenium supplements may also contain sodium selenite and sodium selenate, two inorganic forms of selenium. Selenomethionine is generally considered to be the best absorbed and utilized form of selenium.

    Selenium is also available in 'high selenium yeasts', which may contain as much as 1,000 to 2,000 micrograms of selenium per gram [30]. Most of the selenium in these yeasts is in the form of selenomethionine. This form of selenium was used in the large scale cancer prevention trial in 1983, which demonstrated that taking a daily supplement containing 200 micrograms of selenium per day could lower the risk of developing prostate, lung, and colorectal cancer [32]. However, some yeasts may contain inorganic forms of selenium, which are not utilized as well as selenomethionine.

    A study conducted in 1995 suggested that the organic forms of selenium increased blood selenium concentration to a greater extent than inorganic forms. However, it did not significantly improve the activity of the selenium-dependent enzyme, glutathione peroxidase [33]. Researchers are continuing to examine the effects of different chemical forms of selenium, but the organic form currently appears to be the best choice.

    What are some current issues and controversies about selenium?

    Selenium and cancer
    Observational studies indicate that death from cancer, including lung, colorectal, and prostate cancers, is lower among people with higher blood levels or intake of selenium [34-40]. In addition, the incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancer is significantly higher in areas of the United States with low soil selenium content [37]. The effect of selenium supplementation on the recurrence of different types of skin cancers was studied in seven dermatology clinics in the U.S. from 1983 through the early 1990s. Taking a daily supplement containing 200 μg of selenium did not affect recurrence of skin cancer, but significantly reduced the occurrence and death from total cancers. The incidence of prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and lung cancer was notably lower in the group given selenium supplements [41].

    Research suggests that selenium affects cancer risk in two ways. As an anti-oxidant, selenium can help protect the body from damaging effects of free radicals. Selenium may also prevent or slow tumor growth. Certain breakdown products of selenium are believed to prevent tumor growth by enhancing immune cell activity and suppressing development of blood vessels to the tumor [42].

    However, not all studies have shown a relationship between selenium status and cancer. In 1982, over 60,000 participants of the Nurse's Health Study with no history of cancer submitted toenail clippings for selenium analysis. Toenails are thought to reflect selenium status over the previous year. After three and a half years of data collection, researchers compared toenail selenium levels of nurses with and without cancer. Those nurses with higher levels of selenium in their toenails did not have a reduced risk of cancer [43].

    Two important long-term studies, the SU.VI.MAX study in France and the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT) study in the U.S., are now underway to further investigate the selenium/cancer prevention link.

    The SU.VI.MAX Study is a prevention trial looking at the effects of antioxidant vitamins and minerals on chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Doses of the nutrients provided in the study are one to three times higher than recommended intakes, including a daily supplement of 100 μg selenium. The SU.VI.MAX study, which began in 1994, has followed more than 12,000 adult men and women. This study was designed to continue for eight years, and the research community is eagerly awaiting the results of this study [44].

    The SELECT study, a long-term study sponsored by the NIH, is investigating whether supplemental selenium and/or vitamin E can decrease the risk of prostate cancer in healthy men. Past evidence as well as pre-clinical trials for the SELECT study suggests that these two nutrients may be effective in preventing prostate cancer. A daily supplement containing 200 μg of selenium will be given to individuals in the selenium-only study group, while men in the combined-nutrients group will receive a daily supplement containing 200 μg selenium and 400 mg vitamin E. The study, which will span from 2001 to 2013, will include 32,400 healthy adult men [45].

    Selenium and heart disease
    Some population surveys have suggested an association between lower antioxidant intake and a greater incidence of heart disease [46]. Evidence also suggests that oxidative stress from free radicals, which are natural by-products of oxygen metabolism, may promote heart disease [47-49]. For example, it is the oxidized form of low-density lipoproteins (LDL, often called "bad" cholesterol) that promotes plaque build-up in coronary arteries [48]. Selenium is one of a group of antioxidants that may help limit the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and thereby help to prevent coronary artery disease [47-49]. Currently there is insufficient evidence available to recommend selenium supplements for the prevention of coronary heart disease; however, the SU.VI.MAX study mentioned earlier is looking at the effects of antioxidant nutrients such as selenium on heart disease.

    Selenium and arthritis
    Surveys indicate that individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic disease that causes pain, stiffness, swelling, and loss of function in joints, have reduced selenium levels in their blood [50-51]. In addition, some individuals with arthritis have a low selenium intake [52].

    The body's immune system naturally makes free radicals that can help destroy invading organisms and damaged tissue, but that can also harm healthy tissue [53]. Selenium, as an antioxidant, may help to relieve symptoms of arthritis by controlling levels of free radicals [54]. Current findings are considered preliminary, and further research is needed before selenium supplements can be recommended for individuals with arthritis.

    Selenium and HIV
    HIV/AIDS malabsorption can deplete levels of many nutrients, including selenium. Selenium deficiency is associated with decreased immune cell counts, increased disease progression, and high risk of death in the HIV/AIDS population [55,56]. HIV/AIDS gradually destroys the immune system, and oxidative stress may contribute to further damage of immune cells. Antioxidant nutrients such as selenium help protect cells from oxidative stress, thus potentially slowing progression of the disease [57]. Selenium also may be needed for the replication of the HIV virus, which could further deplete levels of selenium [58].

    An examination of 125 HIV-positive men and women linked selenium deficiency with a higher rate of death from HIV [59]. In a small study of 24 children with HIV who were observed for five years, those with low selenium levels died at a younger age, which may indicate faster disease progression [60]. Results of research studies have led experts to suggest that selenium status may be a significant predictor of survival for those infected with HIV [61].

    Researchers continue to investigate the relationship between selenium and HIV/AIDS, including the effect of selenium levels on disease progression and mortality. There is insufficient evidence to routinely recommend selenium supplements for individuals with HIV/AIDS, but physicians may prescribe such supplements as part of an overall treatment plan. It is also important for HIV-positive individuals to consume recommended amounts of selenium in their diet.

    What is the health risk of too much selenium?

    High blood levels of selenium (greater than 100 μg/dL) can result in a condition called selenosis [62]. Symptoms of selenosis include gastrointestinal upsets, hair loss, white blotchy nails, garlic breath odor, fatigue, irritability, and mild nerve damage [2].

    Selenium toxicity is rare in the U.S. The few reported cases have been associated with industrial accidents and a manufacturing error that led to an excessively high dose of selenium in a supplement [63,64]. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences has set a tolerable upper intake level (UL) for selenium at 400 micrograms per day for adults to prevent the risk of developing selenosis [12]. Table 4 lists ULs for selenium, in micrograms per day, for infants, children, and adults.

    Table 4: Tolerable Upper Intake Levels for selenium for infants, children, and adults [12]
    Age Males and Females
    0 - 6 months 45
    7 - 12 months 60
    1-3 y 90
    4-8 y 150
    9-13 y 280
    14-18 y 400
    19 y + 400

    Selecting a healthful diet

    The 2000 Dietary Guidelines for Americans states, "Different foods contain different nutrients and other healthful substances. No single food can supply all the nutrients in the amounts you need" [65]. For more information about building a healthful diet, refer to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans [65] and the Food Guide Pyramid [66]


Antioxidant Ammunition

Health food stores are well-stocked with all kinds of antioxidant pills and capsules. Magazines abound extolling the virtues of vitamins C and E and beta-carotene. Just how important are antioxidants? Can they prevent disease? In what foods do we find them? Can we get too much of them?

Oxygen is needed for the metabolism of fat and carbohydrates for energy. However, exceed oxygen molecules and other free radicals that form as by-products of normal cellular reactions can cause damage to cells if not inactivated. The body has a complex antioxidant defense system to neutralize radicals and prevent cell damage and disease. Aging and chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer, are currently believed to result from damage caused by free radicals.

The antioxidant defense system of the body includes the antioxidant vitamins E and C, and the carotenoids (pigments present in colored vegetables and some colored fruits). Higher intakes of these nutrients are associated with lower rates of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Optimal levels of antioxidants are also needed for maintenance of immune function. HA Finnish study reported that vegetarians had a higher dietary intake of antioxidant nutrients and higher levels of antioxidant enzymes than nonvegetarians.

The oxidation of LDL cholesterol is now commonly regarded as important for atherogenesis. Vitamin E is especially effective in protecting LDL from oxidation. Vitamin E also inhibits platelet clumping so that blood clot formation is reduced. Vitamin E is found in large quantities in whole grains seeds, nuts, and vegetable oils.

In a Harvard study, tomatoes and strawberries were found to be effective against prostate cancer. The benefits of tomatoes were found in both raw and cooked forms. Men who ate at least 10 servings a week of tomato-based foods had 40% less risk of prostate cancer, while men who ate 4 to 7 servings per week had a 22% reduced risk compared with those eating less than 2 servings per week. Tomatoes are rich in Iycopene, a red carotenoid pigment that has antioxidant activity.

Compromises in the function of the lens and retina of the eye during aging are exacerbated by a lack of antioxidant vitamins and diminished antioxidant enzyme capabilities. Increased antioxidant intake from a diet rich in fruit and vegetables may provide the least costly and most practicable means to delay cataracts. Furthermore, the retina accumulates two carotenoid pigments, lutein and zeaxanthin, obtained from green leafy vegetables. Evidence suggests that the carotenoids, as well as vitamins E and C, help retard retinal damage that leads to blindness.

Many people have decided to increase their antioxidant status by ingesting vitamin E and C and beta-carotene supplements to reduce their risk of disease. This practice is fairly safe since these antioxidants have a fairly low toxicity. However, large scale intervention studies involving the use of supplemental antioxidant vitamins have produced mixed results. Some studies have indicated benefits (such as less coronary artery disease with vitamin E supplements) while others have failed to reduce cancer rates. Some studies have even shown that antioxidant supplements may in fact promote cancer. However, the antioxidant story is much bigger than just these three nutrients.

In addition to the antioxidant vitamins they contain, whole grains, nuts' fruits and vegetables also contain a wide variety of flavonoids and other plant phenolics (such as ellagic, ferulic and caffeic acids) that act as powerful antioxidants. The flavonoids also extend the activity of vitamin C and inhibit blood clot forrnabon. Grapes, strawberries, raspberries and nuts are rich in ellagic acid, while oats, grapes, blueberries, soybeans and prunes are good sources of ferulic and caffeic adds. The phenolic compounds in ginger have an antioxidant activity even greater than vitamin E. Two recent European studies have found that high intakes of flavonoids from fruits and vegetables are related to low rates of heart disease and cancer.


External Links:


Vitamins & Minerals as Therapy





Antioxidant Vitamin Supplements and Cardiovascular Disease


What are antioxidant vitamins?


NCI FACT SHEET: Antioxidants and Cancer Prevention 


Antioxidants and Cancer: The Jury's Still Out


Vitamin A and Carotenoids


Vitamin E




Vitamin C: Your Ultimate Health Insurance


Vitamin C is the Key to Great Health

Vitamin C Foundation


Antioxidants: Working Toward A Definition


National Institutes of Health



Vitamin B Complex



NLN Newsletter April-June 1997



Wholistic Lymphedema Treatment Center


The Top 10 Antioxidant Foods

by Lisa Turner

Better Nutrition, Jan. 2002


Index of articles for  Lymphedema Treatment :

Lymphedema Treatment


Acupuncture Treatment

Aqua Therapy for Postsurgical Breast Cancer Arm Lymphedema

Aqua Therapy in Managing Lower Extremity Lymphedema

Artificial Lymph Nodes

Artificial Lymphatic System

Auricular Therapy

Ball Massage technique

Compression Bandages for Lymphedema

Benzopyrones Treatment

Chi Machine

Choosing a Rehabilitation Provider or Physical Therapist

Complex Decongestive Therapy

Complications of Lymphedema Debulking Surgery

Compression Garments Stockings for Lymphedema

Compression Pumps for Lymphedema Treatment

Coumarin powder/ointment

Craniosacral Therapy

Daflon 500 and Secondary Lymphedema

Deep Oscillation Therapy

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Diuretics are not for lymphedema

Endermologie Therapy

Essential Oils

Elastin Ampules

Farrow Wrap

Flexitouch Device - Initial Observations

Flexitouch Device for Arm Lymphedema


How to Choose a Lymphedema Therapist

How to be Safe with Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Infrared Therapy for Lymphedema

Kinesio Taping (R)

Kinesiology Therapy

Laser Treatment

Laser Treatment - Sara's Experience

Light Beam Generator Therapy

Liposuction Treatment

Low Level Laser

Lymph Node Transplant

Lymphatic venous anastomoses

Lymphedema Treatment Programs Canada

Lymphedema Sleeves

Lymphedema Surgeries

Lymphedema Treatments are Poorly Utilized


Lymphocyte injection therapy


Magnetic Therapy

Manual Lymphatic Drainage



Naturopathy: A Critical Appraisal

Patient self-massage for breast cancer-related lymphedema

Reflexology Therapy

Self Massage Therapy – Self MLD

Short Stretch Bandages


Wholistic Treatment

Treatment Information for Lymphedema Forum

Why Compression Pumps cause Complications with Lymphedema


Join us as we work for lymphedema patients everywehere:

Advocates for Lymphedema

Dedicated to be an advocacy group for lymphedema patients. Working towards education, legal reform, changing insurance practices, promoting research, reaching for a cure.


Pat O'Connor

Lymphedema People / Advocates for Lymphedema


For information about Lymphedema\

For Information about Lymphedema Complications

For Lymphedema Personal Stories

For information about How to Treat a Lymphedema Wound

For information about Lymphedema Treatment

For information about Exercises for Lymphedema

For information on Infections Associated with Lymphedema

For information on Lymphedema in Children

Lymphedema Glossary


Lymphedema People - Support Groups


Children with Lymphedema

The time has come for families, parents, caregivers to have a support group of their own. Support group for parents, families and caregivers of chilren with lymphedema. Sharing information on coping, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. Sponsored by Lymphedema People.



Lipedema Lipodema Lipoedema

No matter how you spell it, this is another very little understood and totally frustrating conditions out there. This will be a support group for those suffering with lipedema/lipodema. A place for information, sharing experiences, exploring treatment options and coping.

Come join, be a part of the family!




If you are a man with lymphedema; a man with a loved one with lymphedema who you are trying to help and understand come join us and discover what it is to be the master instead of the sufferer of lymphedema.



All About Lymphangiectasia

Support group for parents, patients, children who suffer from all forms of lymphangiectasia. This condition is caused by dilation of the lymphatics. It can affect the intestinal tract, lungs and other critical body areas.



Lymphatic Disorders Support Group @ Yahoo Groups

While we have a number of support groups for lymphedema... there is nothing out there for other lymphatic disorders. Because we have one of the most comprehensive information sites on all lymphatic disorders, I thought perhaps, it is time that one be offered.


Information and support for rare and unusual disorders affecting the lymph system. Includes lymphangiomas, lymphatic malformations, telangiectasia, hennekam's syndrome, distichiasis, Figueroa
syndrome, ptosis syndrome, plus many more. Extensive database of information available through sister site Lymphedema People.


If you an AOL fan and looking for a support group in AOL Groups, come and join us there.


Lymphedema People New Wiki Pages

Have you seen our new “Wiki” pages yet?  Listed below are just a sample of the more than 140 pages now listed in our Wiki section. We are also working on hundred more.  Come and take a stroll! 

Lymphedema Glossary 


Arm Lymphedema 

Leg Lymphedema 

Acute Lymphedema 

The Lymphedema Diet 

Exercises for Lymphedema 

Diuretics are not for Lymphedema 

Lymphedema People Online Support Groups 



Lymphedema and Pain Management 

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) and Complex Decongestive Therapy (CDT) 

Infections Associated with Lymphedema 

How to Treat a Lymphedema Wound 

Fungal Infections Associated with Lymphedema 

Lymphedema in Children 


Magnetic Resonance Imaging 

Extraperitoneal para-aortic lymph node dissection (EPLND) 

Axillary node biopsy

Sentinel Node Biopsy

 Small Needle Biopsy - Fine Needle Aspiration 

Magnetic Resonance Imaging 

Lymphedema Gene FOXC2

 Lymphedema Gene VEGFC

 Lymphedema Gene SOX18

 Lymphedema and Pregnancy

Home page: Lymphedema People

Page Updated: Dec. 17, 2011