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Antioxidants + heart drugs = bad medicine?

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6:06pm, August 7, 2001

Many adults take medicine to control their cholesterol–usually statin drugs and sometimes the vitamin niacin. Adding antioxidant supplements to such a daily drug regimen may not be a good idea–at least for people with low concentrations of the so-called good cholesterol, a new study concludes.

Two major classes of lipoproteins shuttle cholesterol around in blood. Low-density lipoproteins, or LDLs, deliver cholesterol to vessel walls, where it can foster artery-clogging plaque. High-density lipoproteins, or HDLs, appear to remove cholesterol from the vascular system.

As a rule of thumb, each 1 percent rise in LDL concentration in the blood or 1 percent decrease in HDL concentration increases a person's risk of coronary heart disease by 1 percent, explains B. Greg Brown of the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.

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