Antioxidants have been heralded the cure-all for cancer.
The theory is since antioxidants help to purge the body of damage caused by free-radicals (mainly through mediating how the affect the DNA structure in cells) it can help to prevent cancer.
This is based on the evidence that cancer often forms after the DNA in cells is damaged by oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
Based on this evidence many practitioners, recommend increased intake of antioxidants in order to prevent or help fight cancer.
Unfortunately there’s been a few recent studies that show that antioxidants might not help prevent certain kinds of cancer, and in some cases might actually might make it work.
This has been shown to be true in several studies of melanoma, the deadly form of skin cancer that progresses rapidly in the presence of encouraging growth factors.
Researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden led by Dr. Kristell Le Gal Beneroso have discovered certain antioxidants can bind to the cell of mitochondria which may lead to the increased spread of melanoma.
The problem with melanoma is the fact that it’s particularly aggressive. And when exposed to antioxidants it’s given a chance to flourish, rather than being beaten into submission.
“Dr. Le Gal Beneroso explains that they wanted to test the theory that reducing free radical production in cells by binding antioxidants to their mitochondria might protect against cancer.
The results, however, did not support the theory. On the contrary, the antioxidants “either had no effect or they made the situation worse,” Dr. Le Gal Beneroso notes.
In mice with malignant melanoma, she continues, “tumors grew significantly faster than in the control animals that received no treatment.”
The researchers conclude that their findings “show that dietary antioxidant supplementation increases metastasis in malignant melanoma,” and that “mitochondria-targeted antioxidants do not inhibit cancer progression.”
The team reaffirms the previous recommendation that people with cancer or who have a high risk of developing it “should avoid the use of antioxidant supplements.”
There is no way to tell exactly what’s causing this growth at this current time.
However, the researchers encourage people to be careful with antioxidant supplementation. They warn that if you have cancer, even if undiagnosed, antioxidants may lead to rapid growth of tumors as opposed to stopping them cold.