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Randomized Controlled Trial
, 51 (1), 47-53

Effect of Alpha-Tocopherol and Beta-Carotene Supplementation on the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes

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Randomized Controlled Trial

Effect of Alpha-Tocopherol and Beta-Carotene Supplementation on the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes

M Kataja-Tuomola et al. Diabetologia.

Abstract

Aims/hypothesis: Type 2 diabetes is associated with reduced antioxidant defence. Only a few human studies have investigated the role of antioxidants in the pathogenesis of diabetes. This study aimed to examine whether alpha-tocopherol or beta-carotene affected the occurrence of type 2 diabetes.

Methods: In the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention (ATBC) Study, a double-blind, controlled trial, 29,133 male smokers aged 50-69 years were randomised to receive either alpha-tocopherol (50 mg/day) or beta-carotene (20 mg/day) or both agents or placebo daily for 5-8 years (median 6.1 years). Baseline serum samples were analysed for alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene using HPLC. Cases of diabetes were identified from a nationwide Finnish registry of patients receiving drug reimbursement for diabetes. Of 27,379 men without diabetes at baseline, 705 men were diagnosed with diabetes during the follow-up of up to 12.5 years.

Results: Baseline serum levels of alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene were not associated with the risk of diabetes in the placebo group: the relative risk (RR) between the highest and lowest quintiles of alpha-tocopherol was 1.59 (95% CI 0.89-2.84) and that for beta-carotene was 0.66 (95% CI 0.40-1.10). Neither supplementation significantly affected the incidence of diabetes: the RR was 0.92 (95% CI 0.79-1.07) for participants receiving alpha-tocopherol compared with non-recipients and 0.99 (95% CI 0.85-1.15) for participants receiving beta-carotene compared with non-recipients.

Conclusions/interpretation: Neither alpha-tocopherol nor beta-carotene supplementation prevented type 2 diabetes in male smokers. Serum levels of alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene were not associated with the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00342992.

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