Selenium, antioxidants, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.
The American journal of clinical nutrition. 2020;112(6):1642-1652
Plain language summary
Oxidative damage is a shared characteristic in chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, cancer and ageing. Antioxidants mitigate the impact of oxidants and have been widely investigated in ageing and disease. However, the evidence for supplementary antioxidants has been mixed and some authorities have advised against the use of certain single nutrients for the prevention of CVD or cancer. This systematic review and meta-analysis focused on selenium due to its vital role in the antioxidant system and associations of low selenium blood levels with increased risk of CVD, cancers and death. The study included 43 randomised controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating the effect of supplemental selenium and antioxidants with or without selenium and their impact on CVD risk, cancer and all-cause mortality. Overall supplemental selenium or antioxidants alone did not seem to be associated with CVD outcomes, cancer, CVD and cancer mortality, or all-cause mortality. On close examination, a decreased risk was seen for CVD mortality when antioxidants were combined with selenium, whilst antioxidant mixtures without selenium demonstrated an increased risk in all-cause mortality. The findings did not seem to be influenced by dietary selenium intake. The authors suggested that inclusion of selenium as part of an antioxidant mix could be key for an antioxidant associated risk reduction. However, in the absence of further long term studies, a balanced antioxidant-rich diet was advocated as the safest approach. In clinical practice, where antioxidant support beyond diet is warranted, supplemental antioxidant use should be concurrent with adequate selenium supplementation, with dose benefits of 50-200mcg observed.
BACKGROUND Antioxidants have been promoted for cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk reduction and for the prevention of cancer. Our preliminary analysis suggested that only when selenium was present were antioxidant mixtures associated with reduced all-cause mortality. OBJECTIVE We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to determine the effect of selenium supplementation alone and of antioxidant mixtures with or without selenium on the risk of CVD, cancer, and mortality. METHODS We identified studies using the Cochrane Library, Medline, and Embase for potential CVD outcomes, cancer, and all-cause mortality following selenium supplementation alone or after antioxidant supplement mixtures with and without selenium up to June 5, 2020. RCTs of ≥24 wk were included and data were analyzed using random-effects models and classified by the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation approach. RESULTS The meta-analysis identified 9423 studies, of which 43 were used in the final analysis. Overall, no association of selenium alone or antioxidants was seen with CVD and all-cause mortality. However, a decreased risk with antioxidant mixtures was seen for CVD mortality when selenium was part of the mix (RR: 0.77; 95% CI: 0.62, 0.97; P = 0.02), with no association when selenium was absent. Similarly, when selenium was part of the antioxidant mixture, a decreased risk was seen for all-cause mortality (RR: 0.90; 95% CI: 0.82, 0.98; P = 0.02) as opposed to an increased risk when selenium was absent (RR: 1.09; 95% CI: 1.04, 1.13; P = 0.0002). CONCLUSION The addition of selenium should be considered for supplements containing antioxidant mixtures if they are to be associated with CVD and all-cause mortality risk reduction. This trial was registered at https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/PROSPERO/ as CRD42019138268.
Dietary Glycemic Index and Load and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Assessment of Causal Relations.
Plain language summary
It is generally accepted that certain diet and lifestyle choices contribute to a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D). In this meta-analysis, researchers set out to review previous studies and assess whether there is any evidence that the amount and type of carbohydrate (measured by Glycaemic Index (GI) and Glycaemic Load (GL)) in a person’s diet has a direct influence on their risk of developing T2D. The authors concluded with a high level of confidence that eating high GI and GL foods can lead to a higher risk of developing T2D. They suggest that nutrition advice that favours low GI and GL foods could produce significant cost savings for public healthcare.
While dietary factors are important modifiable risk factors for type 2 diabetes (T2D), the causal role of carbohydrate quality in nutrition remains controversial. Dietary glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) have been examined in relation to the risk of T2D in multiple prospective cohort studies. Previous meta-analyses indicate significant relations but consideration of causality has been minimal. Here, the results of our recent meta-analyses of prospective cohort studies of 4 to 26-y follow-up are interpreted in the context of the nine Bradford-Hill criteria for causality, that is: (1) Strength of Association, (2) Consistency, (3) Specificity, (4) Temporality, (5) Biological Gradient, (6) Plausibility, (7) Experimental evidence, (8) Analogy, and (9) Coherence. These criteria necessitated referral to a body of literature wider than prospective cohort studies alone, especially in criteria 6 to 9. In this analysis, all nine of the Hill's criteria were met for GI and GL indicating that we can be confident of a role for GI and GL as causal factors contributing to incident T2D. In addition, neither dietary fiber nor cereal fiber nor wholegrain were found to be reliable or effective surrogate measures of GI or GL. Finally, our cost-benefit analysis suggests food and nutrition advice favors lower GI or GL and would produce significant potential cost savings in national healthcare budgets. The high confidence in causal associations for incident T2D is sufficient to consider inclusion of GI and GL in food and nutrient-based recommendations.