http://jvi.asm.org/content/87/5/2577.fullA recent study documented that vitamin C, α-tocopherol, carotenes, selenium, and flavonoids are the most commonly ingested antioxidants in the United States (16). These common antioxidants are beneficial in the treatment and prevention of chronic disorders. For example, there is an inverse relationship between β-carotene and vitamin C ingestion and the incidence of breast cancer in premenopausal women (46, 47). Additionally, studies suggest that diets rich in flavonoids reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in humans and rodent models (48, 49). Due to positive effects in various disease models, there are currently 1,986 clinical trials using antioxidants (www.clinicaltrials.gov).
However, while antioxidant ingestion may play a role in the prevention of chronic disorders, our results have important implications for supplementation during acute immune responses. Our study demonstrates that antioxidant with superoxide dismutase activity has a negative effect on virus-specific ASC, antibody titer, and affinity and suggest that antioxidant supplements should be suspended during infection and immunization.