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Do Antioxidants Spread Cancer?

A big article on antioxidants made headlines this week talking about antioxidants such as vitamin E and how they can actually cause cancer to spread in those already sick. We wanted to comment because there are many things in the study that did not make complete sense (similarly to the recent fish oil/prostate cancer study which was completely flawed).

In the article, they talked about the antioxidants helping repair DNA and thus the cells would not receive a signal to stop the malignant cell from spreading. One thing they did not mention however is the type of vitamin E used. Many of you may already know that synthetic vitamin E (dl-alpha tocopherol) can cause damage because its not natural. D Alpha tocopherol is natural, however in nature, vitamin E is found as a group of tocopherols and thus taking too much of only alpha will actually deplete the others (gamma, delta and beta) and can lead to disease. (For more information on mixed tocopherols please check out our previous post here). The article mentioned that their results were found with supplements but not foods containing E and other antioxidants which brings up the point that we always speak of about only taking good quality vitamins so they are natural and complete and are the same as what is found in foods. Would their conclusion of vitamin E causing cancer to spread would necessary hold up if mixed tocopherols (full spectrum vitamin E) were used?

There was also another big study a few years ago speaking of beta carotene promoting lung cancer in smokers and we think this was a similar situation because foods that contain vitamin A are usually a combination of mixed carotenoids and not just Beta Carotene… Just food for thought…

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