A recent headline-making study warning that antioxidants can increase cancer risk is “nonsense,” a top nutritional doctor tells Newsmax Health.
Last week, Swedish scientists claimed their findings showed that antioxidants could boost the risk of lung cancer for smokers and others at high risk. According to the study published in Science Translational Medicine, two antioxidants – vitamin E and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) – increased tumor growth in mice with early-stage lung cancer. Mice that were given either vitamin E or NAC died twice as fast as untreated mice, according to the scientists.
"This study is total nonsense," said nationally recognized neurosurgeon and nutritionist Russell Blaylock, M.D.
"For one thing, all of these types of studies use dl-alpha tocopheryl," he says. Dl-alpha tocopheryl is a synthetic form of vitamin E made from petrochemicals and is not identical to the natural form.
“It's cheaper than d-alpha tocopherol – the natural form. Research has shown that natural vitamin E is twice as effective as synthetic. It's the worst form of vitamin E to use."
But according to Dr. Blaylock, the most important failure of the study is that the sick rodents were given just a single antioxidant.
"Studies show that if you give a person or animal a single nutrient like vitamin E, it will oxidize. It is no longer an antioxidant – it becomes an oxidant. You are adding to the oxidant burden, not reducing it," he said.
The advice that cancer patients should be wary of antioxidants is just plain wrong, he says.
"Numerous studies have shown that certain antioxidants, such as curcumin, quercetin, resveratrol, and ellagic acid are powerful suppressors of cancer growth and invasion," says Dr. Blaylock.
"I've treated cancer patients with flavonoids and antioxidants for over 20 years and I've never seen them make a cancer grow faster.
"Yet, people are told not to take antioxidants," he said. "They are scaring cancer patients with a study that is scientific nonsense."
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