It is deeply rooted in our psyche that antioxidants help prevent cancer, and the multi-billion-dollar food supplement industry has exploited this belief for years. One reason why antioxidants are touted to be beneficial is because they scavenge upon free radicals. The fact is, these free radicals are indeed harmful, damage cells and DNA, and cause early aging and cancer. ”The amount of antioxidants in your body is directly proportional to how long you will live.”
– Dr. Richard Cutler, former Director of the National Institute of Aging. The larger question here is what type of antioxidants are proven to be bad?
The antioxidants in question here are NOT from the natural sources but from the ones found in artificial supplements which millions of people consume on a daily basis.
Vitamins A, C and E and beta-carotene constitute the antioxidant class of vitamins. Latest research has shown that an EXCESS of synthetic antioxidants SUPPLIED THROUGH vitamin supplements causes increased cancer growth. This raises alarm because nearly ALL low-grade supplements do contain synthetic antioxidant amounts in excess of the body’s daily absorption limit. If you notice the percent daily value label on your supplement bottle, you will find the components to be in heavy excess.
Here are some facts:
A highly reputed study published in Science Translational Medicine (Jan. 2014) concluded that a diet supplemented with vitamin E and N-acetyl cysteine (a modified amino acid supplement and a drug) significantly increased rate of tumor growth, led to aggressive tumors and halved the survival rate in mice. These work by inactivating a specific gene (p53) which controls cancer growth in a normal person. Once p53 is inactivated, the antioxidant effect simply does not work. The scientists suggested that those with a high risk of developing cancers should completely abstain from antioxidant supplementation (that is any synthetic vitamin supplement).
Another research article published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings tested the effect of antioxidant use and primary cancer incidence. They concluded that beta-carotene supplements increased the cancer occurrence as well as mortality in smokers.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has conducted several prolonged human clinical trials to study the effects of antioxidant supplements. None of these trials reported any beneficial effects regarding cancer prevention. The NCI concluded, “Research in humans has not demonstrated convincingly that taking antioxidant supplements can help reduce the risk of developing or dying from cancer, and some studies have even shown an increased risk of some cancers.”
This conclusion was based upon:
Clinical Trial 1 (5- to 8-year study) — Result: Beta-carotene supplements led to increased lung cancer risk. Alpha-tocopherol showed no good/bad effect.
Clinical Trial 2 (8-year study) — Result: Vitamin A and beta-carotene increased lung cancer and death, due to which the trial was ended two years ahead of the initial schedule. Adverse effects persisted up to six years after supplementation was stopped.
What do we learn?
Our understanding that excessive nutrients provided by synthetic supplements are simply excreted is a myth. These excessive nutrients are NOT excreted harmlessly but in fact can cause havoc to our normal physiological functioning.
This research gives us another reason to rely on the good old natural sources for nutrition and not on artificially synthesized supplements. Because biological antioxidants are the nutritional equivalent of man’s best friend – they are loyal protectors and nurturers of our cells, repelling disease, and promoting good health.
Antioxidants can come from healthy eating or in the form of supplements, and they include a family of naturally formed components like vitamin A, beta-carotene, lycopene, vitamin E, and more.
They are believed to protect cells from free radicals,οr harmful oxygen molecules thought to damage cells that result in cancer, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis, and they may be the underlying reason why we age.
After doing your own research, we recommend you to have a look here.