This article was first published in The European Journal of Oriental Medicine, Volume 7, No 1, 2012. Visit www.ejom.co.uk for more details.
Chemotherapy and Anti-Oxidants
In the past few years it has become common practice by oncologists to advise patients who are undergoing chemotherapy not to take anti-oxidant supplements. The reasoning behind this advice is that chemotherapy destroys cancer cells by inducing free radicals and by promoting oxidation of the cancer cells. Antioxidants, on the contrary, do the exact opposite, i.e. they prevent free radicals (by binding to them) and the oxidation of cells. In theory, therefore, it would seem to follow logically that antioxidants may interfere with chemotherapy and reduce its effectiveness. As we shall see, in reality it is not as simple as that.
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