Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston tracked nearly 185,000 women for up to 24 years as part of the Nurses' Health Study and Nurses' Health Study II.
The women who were free of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus at the outset of the study completed detailed questionnaires on their diets and supplement use.
The researchers used those reports to estimate the women's daily intakes of powerful antioxidants, including vitamins A, C and E, as well as alpha- and beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin.
Between 1980 and 2004, 787 women were newly diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, while 192 were diagnosed with lupus.
Researchers found that women with higher antioxidant intakes tended to maintain a healthier lifestyle overall, including more physically activity, and were less likely to smoke. When those factors were taken into account, antioxidant consumption itself showed no protective effect against either disease.
The findings contradict hints from earlier research that women with higher intake of antioxidants might have lower risks of developing these diseases.
The findings were reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
For information on how to manage lupus and rheumatoid arthritis with diet, supplements and natural health products, check out Leslie Beck's recent book, The Complete A-Z Nutrition Encyclopedia.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.