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Antioxidant intake by intensive care patients


Evidence shows that in critical illness antioxidant defences are overwhelmed by a massive increase in reactive oxygen species [1]. Antioxidant supplementation may be beneficial in these patients. We quantified antioxidant intake from enteral nutrition by our patients and compared this with the dietary reference value (DRV) for the healthy population [2].


Data were collected from a retrospective case note review during January 2007. Patients' volume and type of feed delivered was recorded each day. Antioxidant intake was calculated from the volume of feed and the feed nutritional data.


Antioxidant intake of vitamins and traces elements was assessed for the enterally fed patients over the first 7 days in the ICU or part thereof. This amounted to 117 days of feeding. The mean intake per day and the intake as a percentage of DRV are presented in Table 1.

Table 1 Intake of antioxidants


There is no evidence to recommend an optimal intake of antioxidants, but doses of antioxidants used in clinical trials with beneficial outcomes have been up to 10–20 times the DRV [3]. Antioxidant intakes in our patients were much lower than this. The present audit shows that beneficial antioxidant supplementation is unlikely to be met by standardised feed delivery, and additional supplementation will be required.


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  2. Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom. Report of the Panel on Dietary Reference Values of the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy. 11th impression. London: HMSO; 2001.

  3. Berger MM: Clin Nutr. 2005, 24: 172-183. 10.1016/j.clnu.2004.10.003

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Friar, S., Stott, S. Antioxidant intake by intensive care patients. Crit Care 12 (Suppl 2), P148 (2008).

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