Dietary antioxidants such as vitamins C and E can limit cellular damage from free radicals, which are damaging molecular fragments produced by the body. However, warns Norman I. Krinsky of Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, studies in people have never "adequately" established a direct connection between antioxidant consumption and prevention of chronic disease. Overconsumption may even prove harmful.
Krinsky offered these take-home messages from a new report on the body's need for antioxidants. He chaired a panel that prepared the 485-page assessment published this week by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in Washington, D.C.