Transcript: Food Antioxidants and Cancer
The USDA recently removed their online antioxidant database of foods, concerned that ORAC values were routinely misused by food and dietary supplement manufacturing companies to promote their products. Supplement manufacturers got into my-orac-is-bigger-than-your-orac pissing contests, comparing their pills to the antioxidant superfood du jour, like blueberries, and we know there are lots of bioactive compounds in whole plant foods that may help prevent and ameliorate chronic diseases in ways that have nothing to do with their antioxidant power, so I understand their decision. So should we just eat lots of whole healthy plant foods and not worry about which one necessarily has more antioxidants, or does one's dietary antioxidant intake matter?
We have some new data to help answer that question. Dietary total antioxidant capacity and the risk of stomach cancer, the world's second leading cancer killer. A half million people studied, and dietary antioxidant capacity intake from different sources of plant foods was associated with a reduction in risk. Note they say dietary intake; they're not talking about supplements.
Not only do antioxidant pills not seem to help, they seem to increase overall mortality. It’s like you’re paying to live a shorter life. Just giving high doses of isolated vitamins may cause disturbances in your body's own natural antioxidant network, and there are hundreds of different antioxidants in plant foods. They don't act in isolation; they work synergistically. Mother Nature cannot be trapped in a bottle.
Similar results were recently reported with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, the more ORAC units in food you eat per day, the lower your cancer risk drops, though antioxidants or not, greens were particularly protective. Look at that. You go from eating one serving of green leafy vegetables per week to a serving a day, that may cut one's odds of lymphoma in half.
Should we be worried about antioxidant intake during cancer treatment, since most chemo drugs work by creating free radicals? According to some of the latest reviews, there is no evidence of antioxidant interference with chemotherapy, and in fact they may actually improve treatment response and patient survival.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Ariel Levitsky.
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