Antioxidants are often promoted because of their properties to kill cancer cells. But in a new study, scientists have found evidence that these unique molecules can actually promote the spread of certain cancer cells.
Antioxidants are compounds that can neutralize free radicals, which attack our cells and DNA. By neutralizing free radicals, antioxidants can prevent or slow down certain types of cell damage. Antioxidants are naturally part of many foods, especially fruits and vegetables, but can also be taken as supplements.
In order to discover what is the effects of antioxidants on cancer cells, researchers at Southwestern looked them They have given these components to mice that were implanted with melanoma cells taken from a patient with this type of cancer. The researchers noted that cancer has spread faster in mice when received antioxidants, compared with the mice who have not received. Given that the spread of cancer, or also known as metastasis, is the main cause of death in most patients with cancer. This finding is of great importance. These results also directly contradict previous studies that say that higher levels of antioxidants prevent damage to the cells that are related to the development of cancer.
According to the researchers, these findings should be used by doctors, to review recommendations about the diet they give to cancer patients.
This is the first study that shows the relationship between antioxidants and increased spread of cancer. One study from 1994, published in “The New England Journal of Medicine” showed a higher incidence of lung cancer among men who took antioxidants, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. The research, published a year later in “Science Translational Medicine”, found that taking high doses of antioxidants such as vitamin E, may actually speed the progression of lung cancer in smokers and in patients of other risk groups.
“Cancer cells have a greater benefit from antioxidants than normal cells,” – says Dr. Sean Morrison, leader of the research team.
Based on the research, Dr. Morrison suggests that prooxidants, ingredients that promote, rather than inhibit oxidation, would be useful for cancer patients.
However, this does not mean that antioxidants should be removed from the diet. Healthy people, those who do not suffer from cancer, will certainly benefit from them in the fight against obesity or for the protection of their type, without having to worry about side effects.