It appears that antioxidants are speeding up the growth of lung cancer instead of doing the usual job they are usually promoted for, the potential of preventing diseases such as cancer. It has long been believed that they were able to remove free radicals and therefore lower an individual’s chance of getting a deadly illness. However the majority of evidence that backs such claims have been diverse. A new research study printed up Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine even proposes that popular antioxidants could possibly hurry up the growth of a cancerous tumor.
A group of Swedish investigators got together and began conducting tests on vitamin E, which contains properties of antioxidants, along with a medication known as N-acetylcysteine, or NAC. NAC is a common medical treatment which is inhaled for people who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, because it has the ability to greatly decrease the production of phlegm.
They tested inside mouse mockups of lung cancer and also inside human lung cancer cells. What they found was that when antioxidants were present, they produced nearly three times the increase in growth in tumors, and also caused the mice to die almost twice as fast. The more the antioxidants that the mice were given, the quicker they died. When the tests were performed on human cancer cells in the lab, the human cells did the same thing.
Even though the researchers only scrutinized the effects of vitamin E and NAC, they listed evidence that puts forward the idea that other antioxidants could also flame cancer cells, not prevent them. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has held numerous scientific trials of antioxidant supplements and they have over and over repeatedly failed to show that they help in averting conditions such as heart attacks, cancer, strokes or dementia.
Antioxidants, which include vitamins, minerals and carotenes, are inside vegetables and fruits and vegetables naturally, but act to counterbalance free radicals, which are cells that can hurt human DNA. Because DNA might be hurt by cancer, scientists think that antioxidants are hurting cancer, but it might really be helping the disease, stated researcher Per Lindahl, who works at the Institute of Biomedicine at the University of Gothenburg.
It is now believed with these findings that antioxidant therapy is hazardous for patients who have beginning stage lung cancer, smokers and people who are suffering from COPD. However, their study only focused on the impact of antioxidants and what they do on tumor progression. The study also only examined lung cancer cells, but it seems that the results are indicative of what might be related to other cancer types. It is obvious that there are more studies needed over antioxidants and they should be used with extreme care in anyone who has lung cancer or has a high chance of being diagnosed with it. An individual may walk around and have undiagnosed lung tumors for quite a long time, but it is still not clear if antioxidants could reduce any future risk of lung cancer in healthy people.
With such tests on antioxidants showing that they are speeding up the growth of lung cancer instead of doing the usual job they are usually promoted for, this certainly throws another wrench in the use of vitamins debate.
By Kimberly Ruble