Surely when you hear the word “antioxidant ” the first thing you think is something that protects you against free radicals and is good for your health. No wonder you think that because of the amount of information on the net about it but it is not gold everything that shines and what sometimes seems to be very good it turns out that then it is not so much.
This is what happens with the antioxidant supplements that have become so fashionable from a few years ago until today because of their “possible” effects on health and to keep us young.
Their consumption should be limited because current studies show that taking many antioxidant supplements leads to a possible cancer.
There is a popular belief that taking antioxidants is good for your health. The idea is based on theories that an excess of oxidants wears out our cells, which would contribute to aging, and can damage DNA and cause mutations, the first steps to form a cancer. Although all this is true, the role of oxidants in the normal functioning of cells is much more complex. It is known, for example, that in the right quantities are essential for many processes essential to life. That’s why experts have long warned against the indiscriminate use of antioxidant supplements, so easy to find today in stores, as they could have dangerous side effects.
An article published recently in the journal Nature confirms: antioxidants have the ability to potentiate metastases.
Oxidants, also known as oxygen radicals, are small molecules capable of interacting with many others. This causes them to participate in a large number of chemical reactions that take place inside and outside the cells of all living things. They would be like smoke coming out of a car’s exhaust pipe. Like smoke, this excess of oxidants must be removed or neutralized to prevent them from doing harm. That is why there are very precise mechanisms to maintain the balance inside the cells: that is sufficient but not too much. It is believed that, with age, this protection would be lost and the oxidants could end up doing more harm than good, for example by participating in the development of a cancer.
But it has also long been known that, without the oxidants, the cancer defenses do not work as well as they should. For example, they are needed to slow down or destroy cells that are at risk of becoming malignant. In addition, cancer cells are especially sensitive to oxidants. Precisely, most chemotherapy works partly by increasing levels, and bad cells resist it less than normal. These data already indicate that using antioxidants could have negative consequences and, indeed, studies of the last years reveal that, instead of positive effects, can increase the incidence of cancer.
The recently published Nature study by Dr Sean J. Morrison of the University of Texas Southwestern also shows that antioxidants can interfere with the internal mechanism that prevents metastasis in the case of melanoma. More aggressive skin cancer.
The scientists studied mice that had been transplanted into human melanoma cells. They saw that when a cancer cell came out of the original tumor and began to travel the body to find a place to settle down and form a colony, it had to fight an unexpectedly high amount of oxidants that were generated inside. This meant that, unless he found a way to counteract them, most times he did not achieve his goals and the oxidants destroyed it. On the other hand, if the researchers made the barrier disappear giving the mice an antioxidant supplement, they saw that the malignant cells moved more easily and ended up causing many more metastases.