Antioxidants don't lower cancer risk in women

January 5, 2009 in Cancer Prevention, Nutrition Topics in the News, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

Antioxidants don't lower cancer risk in women

There's more evidence that supplementing with antioxidants may not prevent cancer, particularly in women.

In a new study from Harvard Medical School, 7, 627 women were randomly assigned to take a placebo, or to 500 milligrams of vitamin C daily, 600 IU of vitamin E every other day or 50 milligrams of beta-carotene every other day.

After an average of nine years, women who didn't take the antioxidants had the same risk of developing cancer as those in the vitamin C, vitamin E group or beta carotene groups.

There were slight differences in risk of death from any type of cancer. Supplementing with vitamin C was found to increase risk of dying from cancer by 28 percent while vitamin E and beta-carotene were associated slight reductions in risk of cancer death.

"The duration of supplementation did not appear to alter the associations of these supplements with risk of cancer or mortality due to cancer," say this study's authors.

In light of these findings and the recent news that antioxidant supplements don't prevent prostate cancer in men, nutrition experts recommending getting your daily dose of vitamins C and E and beta-carotene from foods.

Oranges, kiwis, strawberries, cantaloupe, red pepper, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts are all good sources of vitamin C. Vitamin E can be found in almonds, vegetable oil, sunflower seeds, wheat germ and avocados.

Bright orange vegetables (sweet potato, carrots, squash) and dark leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, Swiss chard) are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body.

For more information about foods that are high in antioxidants, check out Leslie Beck's Foods that Fight Disease.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.