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You have heard that antioxidants are good because they prevent aging by blocking oxidants that kill cells. However, it may be very dangerous to take large amounts of antioxidants because they may cause cells to live too long and become cancerous.

At last week's meeting of the Experimental Biology 2001 In Orlando, Florida, several papers were presented that may answer why you should not take large doses of vitamins. Most cells are programmed to die after a certain number of doublings. This process is called aptosis, which is necessary to prevent cells from living forever and clogging up your body.

For example, healthy red blood cells live 120 days and die. Healthy skin cells live 28 days and die. Healthy cells lining the intestines live 2 days and die. Aptosis in which cells die from old age is caused by oxygen-bearing molecules called oxidants, such as hydrogen peroxide and hydroxyl radicals.

In his groundbreaking research, Dr. Craig Albright at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill showed that certain tumor cells turn off oxidants, so they do not die at their usual time , and therefore live forever and spread through the body and kill the host. He showed that creating a diet that lacks the antioxidants vitamins A and C can slow breast cancer growth.

How can this be? We have been taught that antioxidants block oxidants and prevent cancer. Now we hear that cancer cells need oxidants to kill them and antioxidants keep cancer cells alive and spread them through the body. On January 19, 1996, Dr. Richard Klausner, Director of the National Cancer Institute reported that taking large doses of the antioxidant vitamins, A and E, may increase heart attack and cancer risk. Now we have an explanation.

I recommend that you get antioxidants from plants. Do not take huge amounts of antioxidants vitamins in pill form because there is little evidence that they prevent cancer and here is new evidence that they may cause cancer.

1) Experimental Biology 2001 meeting, Orlando, Florida

2) Press conference presented by Dr. Richard Klausner, Director of the National Cancer Institute 1/19/96.

Checked 5/3/07

June 1st, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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