The aim of the present study was to examine the association between intake of five common antioxidative nutrients from supplements and medications (vitamin E, vitamin C, carotenoids, Se, and Zn) and levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) in the general population. For this purpose, a total of 2924 participants of the population-based Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg (KORA) F4 study (2006-8) were investigated cross-sectionally. Intake of dietary supplements and medication during the last 7 d was recorded in a personal interview, when participants were asked to show product packages of ingested preparations. Linear regression models were calculated; first, the exposure to regular nutrient intake was treated with a binary response (yes/no); then regularly ingested amounts were divided into quartiles to examine dose-response relationships. Effect of single v. combined supplementation of antioxidants was assessed through the inclusion of interaction terms into the models. Regular intake of any of the five investigated antioxidants per se was not associated with hs-CRP levels. However, dose-response analyses revealed that participants who regularly ingested more than 78 mg vitamin E/d, which corresponds to the upper quartile, had 22% lower hs-CRP levels (95% CI 0·63, 0·97) compared to those of persons who were not exposed to any vitamin E supplementation. Stratified analyses showed that this association was found only in persons who took vitamin E in combination with other antioxidants. The combined supplementation of vitamin E with other antioxidants could thus be a promising strategy for the prevention of inflammation-related diseases in the general population, if further studies could confirm that the proposed association is causal.
Keywords: Antioxidative supplements; High-sensitivity C-reactive protein; Population-based studies; Vitamin E supplementation.