Brighton, UK—Pharmacists are asked constantly about the dangers of oxygen radicals or oxidative stress and whether they should take so-called antioxidants to prevent or cure disease. A new study suggests the answer is no. An article in the British Journal of Pharmacology warns that the supplements should not be used unless a clear deficiency is diagnosed by a healthcare professional. The authors from the Brighton and Sussex Medical School in the United Kingdom and the University of Maastricht in The Netherlands point out that none of the antioxidants tested in randomized clinical trials has demonstrated any benefit and that some of the products actually could be harmful. They warn that antioxidants could interfere with both healthy and disease-triggering oxygen molecules. If oxidative stress is found to be a problem in a small proportion of patients with specific conditions, the article suggests treating it with more targeted drugs.

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