Nutrients that may protect against atherosclerotic lesion formation

B. Hennig, M. A. Stuart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Certain vitamins and minerals may help protect against atherosclerotic lesion formation. Those reviewed here include vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, chromium, copper and zinc. Although the biochemical mechanisms of protection by these nutrients are understood only partially, studies suggest that they act primarily by protecting against vessel wall injury rather than by altering plasma lipid levels. Part of the etiology of atherosclerosis involves damage to or dysfunction of the vascular endothelium, reducing its effectiveness as a selectively permeabile barrier to plasma components, such as cholesterol-rich lipoprotein remnants. Among the factors which may contribute to vascular injury are free radical-mediated reactions, including lipid peroxidation. Much of the protective role of the nutrients reviewed appears to be in preventing or reducing vessel wall injury caused by free radical-related reactions and other cell perturbations. The relationship of diet to the overall mechanism of atherosclerosis is still unclear. Therefore, until further evidence is forthcoming, the best nutritional defense against atherosclerosis may be a well balanced diet containing a variety of whole foods which supply the proper complement of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-21
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science


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