The Link Between Antioxidants and Cancer

by Holistic_Health

Antioxidants may be effective at preventing or slowing the spread of certain tumors.

There has been quite a lot of recent interest in the link between antioxidants and cancer. Studies have shown that antioxidants may be useful in preventing or even treating certain cancers. Unstable molecules within the body, known as free radicals, can cause damage to the body which can lead to tumors forming.

Antioxidants are substances found in certain foods which stabilize the free radicals and prevent damage from occurring. It is thought that these antioxidants may be effective at preventing or slowing the spread of certain tumors.

Antioxidants and CancerOther studies have shown mixed results, however, and it is thought that certain antioxidants, when given in a low dose, may actually protect cancer cells during treatment such as chemotherapy. Research indicates that repeated higher than usual doses of antioxidants may be necessary to treat cancer effectively. Given that some antioxidants are harmful to the body if the recommended daily dose is exceeded; this brings its own set of health concerns.

Generally speaking, if you intend to try treating or preventing cancer using antioxidants, you should only do so under the close supervision of a health professional. Each individual will require a different combination and dose of antioxidants and getting this wrong could cause more harm than good.

Cancer Fighting Antioxidants

Beating Cancer with Nutrition: Optimal Nutrition Can Improve Outcome inMedically-Treated Cancer Patients

Here are some of the most common antioxidants used in the treatment of cancer. Generally speaking they are not used in isolation. Each individual may require a different combination of antioxidants.

Vitamin C

This has been found to increase the effectiveness of certain drugs used in chemotherapy, and to help prevent adverse reaction to this treatment. It can also help prevent the tumor cells spreading to other parts of the body, and has shown to be particularly effective at treating breast cancer.


This is a form of vitamin A, which boosts the immune system against the growth of tumor cells. Free radicals can damage the DNA contained in cells, which is thought to be one process which can lead to cancer. Beta-carotene decreases the damage to DNA. It is also effective at treating and preventing breast, prostate, lung, and bladder cancer.


This can help protect the tissues from damage caused by free radicals. Many cancer sufferers have been found to be deficient in selenium. It is thought to reduce the side effects, such as headaches and nausea, which can accompany chemotherapy.

Vitamin E

This helps to strengthen the immune system; it is thought to protect normal cells from the effects of cancer treatments such as radiation, and to enhance the destruction of cancer cells.


These occur naturally in plants such as broccoli, grapes, soy and citrus fruits. They are also found in green tea, and it is thought that the ingredients in green tea can be effective at treating cancer.

Overall, the jury is still out on the link between antioxidants and cancer, and whether antioxidants can be successfully used to treat cancer. If you decide to give this a try, you should always seek specialist advice. Generally speaking, experts agree that a diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables can be very effective at preventing cancer from occurring.

Updated: 03/04/2014, Holistic_Health
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AgingandDisability on 10/08/2022

I knew antioxidants were important, but I had no idea about how they prevent cancer. Thank you for sharing this information.

Holistic_Health on 06/04/2014

@Mira Yes, I've heard of those mega dose protocols. If you can get it from food that's you're first choice.

Mira on 06/03/2014

I know some people take 1,000 mg of vitamin C daily. I tried doing that to prevent colds but wasn't successful. I now tend to think you need to get it from fruit. I started eating more oranges as a result (I was already eating kiwis), among other things.

Natural_Skin_Care on 03/06/2014

@frankbeswick Yes, seaweed is a magnificent vegetable very rich in minerals and trace elements and it is used as a fertilizer too.

frankbeswick on 03/06/2014

Interesting about selenium, as British soils are generally low in this mineral. However, seaweed, which is high in many trace elements, might be useful diet supplement and a soil enhancer. You have reminded me to get some seaweed meal for the plot.

Holistic_Health on 03/05/2014

@frankbeswick I believe the same. Thanks for commenting!

Holistic_Health on 03/05/2014

@ Mira Appreciate the comments - thanks!

frankbeswick on 03/05/2014

There is a remedy, I believe, for everything except old age.

Mira on 03/05/2014

Nice article. I liked your point about dosage and prevention vs. treatment. You also make good points about the various antioxidants.

Holistic_Health on 03/05/2014

@cmoneyspinner I also believe that there is a remedy for everything. Your support means a lot so thank you!

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