Taking vitamins may not be that helpful, study finds
Fox - 7 Austin / VideoElephant
Growing up, people are generally taught that taking vitamins is good for you, with many people taking supplements to boost their intake.
However, results of a new study suggest that taking vitamins could actually have a negative impact on health as they may help tumours to grow.
New research suggests that taking additional vitamins and minerals, including common antioxidants such as vitamins A and C, and selenium and zinc, could help the blood vessels in tumours to grow.
The study was conducted by scientists at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden who published their findings in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
The results were somewhat of a surprise to experts, who believed anti-oxidants to be protective of the body.
In their research, they found that vitamin C and other antioxidants actually stimulated the formation of new blood vessels in lung cancer tumours.
Martin Bergö, who is a professor at the Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, said: “We’ve found that antioxidants activate a mechanism that causes cancer tumours to form new blood vessels, which is surprising since it was previously thought that antioxidants have a protective effect.
“The new blood vessels nourish the tumours and can help them grow and spread.”
Antioxidants, in normal amounts, neutralise free oxygen radicals that damage the body, so are beneficial. But, scientists found that high doses of antioxidants can activate a protein called BACH1 which begins the formation of new blood vessels, allowing harmful tumours to grow.
Bergö explained: “There’s no need to fear antioxidants in normal food but most people don’t need additional amounts of them.
“In fact, it can be harmful for cancer patients and people with an elevated cancer risk.”
Ting Wang, the study’s lead author, said: “Many clinical trials have evaluated the efficacy of angiogenesis inhibitors, but the results have not been as successful as anticipated.
“Our study opens the door to more effective ways of preventing angiogenesis in tumours; for example, patients whose tumours exhibit high levels of BACH1 might benefit more from anti-angiogenesis therapy than patients with low BACH1 levels.”