Vitamins in the form of nutritional supplements can have a harmful effect on the body. (Image: clone)
Vitamins are good for health, even if they are obtained from food. However, in some cases, in the form of dietary supplements, it can have a harmful effect on the body. One study now shows that a certain group of nutrients poses a serious risk for tumor growth.
The Karolinska Institute in Sweden showed in a study that dietary supplements containing antioxidants can promote cancer. According to the authors, it was observed that antioxidants activate the mechanism that causes cancerous tumors to form new blood vessels. Tumors then feed on these blood vessels and thus grow more quickly.
A pre-clinical study conducted by a team at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden in 2020 showed that vitamin E, which belongs to the group of antioxidants, can increase the number of metastases.
Antioxidants include the following nutrients: secondary plant substances (such as beta-carotene, resveratrol, flavonoids, or chlorophyll); Vitamin A; Vitamin C; Vitamin E; Selenium.
The corresponding vitamin preparations can be dangerous, especially for cancer patients and people at high risk of developing the disease – and not just if they take high doses.
The protective effect of antioxidants favors tumors
Antioxidants are mainly found in plant foods, especially fruits and vegetables. They protect cells from harmful environmental influences such as UV rays, smoke or exhaust gases because they neutralize aggressive oxygen compounds. In this way, they avoid oxidative stress in the body, which not only accelerates the aging process but also promotes many diseases – including atherosclerosis, rheumatism and stroke.
But this protective effect of antioxidants is exactly what tumors benefit from. Free radical scavengers protect not only healthy cells but also degenerating cells from which tumors develop.
Aggressive radicals are harmful to the body, but they also destroy cancer cells and thus prevent their growth. This mechanism is disabled by antioxidants – if too many are taken.
However, antioxidants found in foods do not pose any health risk, according to the researchers.
Experts especially advise cancer patients not to take nutritional supplements on their own. If a deficiency is identified, the ideal, according to them, is to try to correct it first with a healthy diet.
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