Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Anti-oxidants ineffective for cancer incidence

When it comes to our health, we are often told of the benefits of taking anti-oxidants, with a particular emphasis on cancer. Australian television is full of food manufacturers trying to establish a link between their products and anti-oxidants.

From a marketing point of view, the link is valuable as it may attract more buyers expecting to get a positive benefit. From a health point of view, the link continually fails to be proven. Another recent study in the Journal of the National Institute of Cancer followed 7,627 women from an Anti-Oxidant Cardiovascular Study, which was a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trial.

I have yet to go through the full written study, but the results over 9 years indicate there is no significant difference between those who took the anti-oxidants and those who were on the placebo. Of those who developed cancer, there was also no significant difference in the mortality rate.

The study concluded that “Supplementation with vitamin C, vitamin E, or beta carotene offers no overall benefits in the primary prevention of total cancer incidence or cancer mortality”.

This is one of many cancer studies involving vitamins and their affect on cancer incidence and mortality. Despite the marketing hype, conclusive proof that anti-oxidants have any effect on cancer at all is still yet to be shown.

"The presence of belief, does not indicate the existence of truth."
"There is only one truth. How we interpret that truth is called belief."