Harmful antioxidants may trigger skin cancer, researchers say.
Antioxidants are known for their curative properties, so many people consume food rich in antioxidants or even pills. But now things may change, since researchers discovered that the compounds boost the stretch of lethal skin cancer melanoma.
Antioxidants can be found in food or supplement medicines and are known for their property of hindering oxidation, which can destroy cells. They are consumed not only by healthy people, but also by those suffering from cancer, as it is believed these compounds fight this disease.
But the research made on mice suffering from melanoma showed something else. Some of them were given an antioxidant called N-acetylcysteine and it was observed that the number of tumors doubled in comparison with those who were not administered this supplement.
What is more, the study revealed that human melanoma cells which were given N-acetylcysteine and vitamin E, also an antioxidant, would rapidly extend to other body parts in comparison with cells that were not exposed to them.
Martin Bergo, the lead author of the study, claimed that „it is not far-fetched to propose that antioxidants could increase [the spread of cancer] in melanoma patients.”
He also added that there is no proof that the antioxidant supplements intake is of any use for patients having melanoma. As a consequence, he advised people having malignant melanoma to stay away from taking antioxidants.
However, these discoveries are incipient and further research is needed in order to establish the relation between the stretch of melanoma in other body parts and the antioxidant supplements intake.
The recently published study is one of those rising controversies with respect to the administration of antioxidants for patients suffering from cancer. It was published on October 7 in Science Translational Medicine journal and was based only on antioxidants in supplements.
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