Latest Issue of Science News


Antioxidants + heart drugs = bad medicine?

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.

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.