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Study: Some Antioxidants Could Increase Cancer Rates 117

sciencehabit writes "Many people take vitamins such as A, E, and C thinking that their antioxidant properties will ward off cancer. But some clinical trials have suggested that such antioxidants, which sop up DNA-damaging molecules called free radicals, have the opposite effect and raise cancer risk in certain people. Now, in a provocative study that raises unsettling questions about the widespread use of vitamin supplements, Swedish researchers have showed that moderate doses of two widely used antioxidants spur the growth of early lung tumors in mice."
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Study: Some Antioxidants Could Increase Cancer Rates

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  • Not very surprising. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ihlosi ( 895663 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @05:03AM (#46108073)
    Oxidizing compounds (like H2O2) are one of the forms of "ammunition" the immune system has. Too many antioxidants in the body will make this weapon less effective.

    Also, cancer cells are more susceptive to oxidative damage due to their generally higher cell division rate. This is also why ionizing radiation usually damages cancer cells more than regular cells.

  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @06:39AM (#46108339)

    I think people labor under the delusion that 'health' is some sort of idyllic state of bodily perfection, rather than the state where most of the potentially catastrophic pathogens, precancerous cells, and who knows what else are being held in enough of a stalemate that something else will probably kill you first.

    Well that's pretty much what life itself is: it's a process that tries to fight entropy for as long as possible, but always gets overwhelmed in the end no matter what.

    I've read somewhere that people (and animals, and plants) get cancer all the time in the form of cells that have mutated or divided erroneously, but their body always manages to get rid of the misfit cells. But over time, the faulty cells get faulty in nastier ways, or become more numerous, and manage to overwhelm the immune system.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 30, 2014 @07:44AM (#46108515)

    If the tumor is O2 deprived wouldn't that slow down cell division which would make it slow growing?

    Regrettably, cancer cells usually have no problem generating the energy for sustained cell divisions entirely without oxygen. They can use oxygen if it's available, but they're not dependent on it.

  • Re:Trust me? (Score:5, Informative)

    by gnoshi ( 314933 ) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @08:53AM (#46108751)

    Well, since this is consistent with findings of previous studies which were not specifically looking for this - for example, a Vitamin E supplement trial which was called off early due to the high cancer rates in the active drug group ( - I'd say that this result is correct.
    Of course, maybe that researcher was on the take too, right?

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