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When Antioxidant Supplements Are Risky

When Antioxidant Supplements Are Risky

In 2014 when Buffalo, New York, had record snow falls (and they often do!), the Buffalo Bills had to clear 220,000 tons of snow off their football field before they could even think of playing the scheduled game against the New York Jets.

But clearing-out trouble isn’t always the smart move.

When it comes to cancer cells, the last thing you want to do is to clear a path for them to spread. But a study of human melanoma cells in mice out of the Children’s Research Institute at University of Texas Southwest found taking high doses of antioxidant supplements (like vitamin E, beta carotene or vitamin C) might do just that. It appears that typically melanoma cells are kept from metastasizing by high levels of oxidative stress outside of cells (that’s what’s quelled by blood born and dietary antioxidants) -- so taking antioxidants allows them to spread more easily.

What does this mean for you? While healthy folks might do well to tamp down inflammatory effects, if you have undiagnosed or diagnosed cancer, taking more than recommended daily values (or super-doses) of antioxidant supplements could spell trouble. But don’t forget -- one daily multivite for men 70+ (and probably women, too) decreases cancer risk by 18%.

The smartest way to get the antioxidants you need is to eat dark leafy greens, cruciferous veggies like broccoli, blue and red berries and grapes, orange foods like yams and carrots, and omega-3-rich salmon. Those foods plus a daily multivite that delivers recommended levels will tackle unhealthy inflammation.