Intake of flavonoids, carotenoids, vitamins C and E, and risk of stroke in male smokers.


Hirvonen T, Virtamo J, Korhonen P, Albanes D, Pietinen P.






BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Antioxidants may protect against atherosclerosis and thus prevent cerebrovascular disease. We studied the association between dietary antioxidants and subtypes of stroke. METHODS: The study cohort consisted of 26 593 male smokers, aged 50 to 69 years, without a history of stroke. They were participants of the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention (ATBC) Study in Finland. The men completed a validated dietary questionnaire at baseline. Incident cases were identified through national registers. RESULTS: During a 6.1-year follow-up, 736 cerebral infarctions, 83 subarachnoid hemorrhages, and 95 intracerebral hemorrhages occurred. Neither dietary flavonols and flavones nor vitamin E were associated with risk for stroke. The dietary intake of beta-carotene was inversely associated with the risk for cerebral infarction (relative risk [RR] of highest versus lowest quartile 0.74, 95% CI 0.60 to 0. 91), lutein plus zeaxanthin with risk for subarachnoid hemorrhage (RR 0.47, 95% CI 0.24 to 0.93), and lycopene with risks of cerebral infarction (RR 0.74, 95% CI 0.59 to 0.92) and intracerebral hemorrhage (RR 0.45, 95% CI 0.24 to 0.86). Vitamin C intake was inversely associated with the risk for intracerebral hemorrhage (RR 0.39, 95% CI 0.21 to 0.74). After simultaneous modeling of the antioxidants, a significant association remained only between beta-carotene intake and risk for cerebral infarction (RR 0.77, 95% CI 0.61 to 0.99). CONCLUSIONS: Dietary intake of beta-carotene was inversely associated with the risk for cerebral infarction. No association was detected between other dietary antioxidants and risk for stroke.