Antioxidant Supplements Accelerate Tumor Growth?

Anti- oxidant supplements are often promoted to help prevent disease . This is because the anti - oxidants are known to bind with free radicals to prevent damage to body cells . It 's also what ultimately makes this supplement is believed to reduce the risk of cancer .

But a new study suggests counterproductive results of pre-existing assumption . The study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine found that anti - oxidants can actually increase the rate of growth of potentially cancerous tumor .

The Swedish research team conducted an experiment on the effect of anti - oxidant vitamin E and a drug called N - asetilstein ( NAC ) . NAC is a drug commonly used in patients with chronic obstructive respiratory disease to assist breathing .

Tests on mice showed that the presence of anti - oxidants led to an increase in tumor growth rate three times that number . Even a team of researchers also found that mice tend to die twice as fast . The more anti - oxidants administered to mice , the faster they die . Testing on human cancer cells in the laboratory also showed similar results .

Although the researchers only measured the effect of vitamin E and NAC , they found evidence that anti - oxidants can also provide nutrients for cancer cells thereby increasing faster growth.

According to complementary and alternative medicine center U.S. clinical trials for anti - oxidant supplements often failed to prove that the supplements could prevent conditions like heart attack , stroke , dementia , or cancer .

"If you look further, the anti - oxidant supplements do not protect the body from cancer , but it increases the risk , " said study researcher Martin Bergo of Sahlgrenska Cancer Center .

Anti - oxidants , including vitamins , carotenoids , and minerals naturally found in vegetables and fruits . Anti - oxidant action to neutralize free radicals that can damage the DNA of human cells .

" Because DNA is also damaged by cancer , the anti - oxidant instead kill cancer cells , but instead actually help the cancer cells , " said another researcher of the Institute of Biomedicine at the University of Gothenburg .