A study authored by an All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) alumnus suggests that antioxidant supplementation does not reduce the risk of cancer.
Dr. Aditya Bardia reviewed randomised trials conducted between 1968 and 2005 to determine the efficacy of antioxidants in preventing cancer.
Working with Dr. Victor Montori, Mayo Clinic's Knowledge and Encounter Research (KER) unit, he identified 12 clinical trials with a total eligible population of 104,196.
"Systematic reviews can provide reliable summaries of the research, and help understand why different studies give different results," said Montori.
In their report, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, the authors noted that antioxidant supplementation did not reduce the overall risk of cancer.
They also suggested that tobacco users avoid beta carotene supplementation because it could make smokers susceptible to cancer, and increased cancer mortality risk among them.
Vitamin E did not appear to have any beneficial or harmful effects during the study.
The author duo also wrote that very few trials suggested that selenium supplementation could lower the risk of cancer, and that too only in men.
The author duo wrote that selenium supplementation was found to lower the risk of cancer only in men, but even that was seen in very few trials.
They noted that selenium might have beneficial properties, but it could not be recommended for general use until more evidence was available.