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Experts warn about antioxidant supplements

Experts warn about antioxidant supplements

Cancer patients should avoid the routine use of antioxidant supplements, such as vitamin A or beta-carotene, during radiation and chemotherapy because the supplements may reduce the anticancer benefits of therapy, Brian D. Lawenda, MD, of the Naval Medical Center San Diego, and colleagues concluded (J Natl Cancer Inst 100:773-783, 2008). The authors reviewed 9 radiotherapy studies and 16 chemotherapy studies that addressed the issue.

“Despite some intriguing studies that have suggested the benefit of adjunctive antioxidant treatment in cancer patients, the totality of the available evidence is equivocal at best and leaves us with serious concerns about the potential for harm,” the authors wrote.

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