‘Antioxidant’ seems to be quite the buzzword these days especially when it comes to the health benefits of consuming significant quantities of them daily. By this point in time, many people out there can appreciate that eating foods known to be high in antioxidants is not only a practice that supports optimal health, but also to shed protection against short and long term disease. When it comes to cancer specifically, there continues to be growing evidence that shows consuming antioxidants provide unique anti cancer benefits by lowering your risk and helping to prevent cancer. So here are some antioxidant facts you never knew about preventing cancer:


Fact 1: Antioxidants do not promote cancer

First and foremost, before we get into it, let’s address the long standing (often unknown) issue referencing the idea that antioxidants cause cancer instead of helping your health and reduce your risk. Previous studies in this realm have suggested such things as antioxidants increasing lung cancer risk, or causing the spread of active cancers in the body. What these studies eventually came to realize was that it’s not the general array of antioxidants that raise the potential for cancer development, but only very specific and synthetic forms of anti oxidants that might. This is why natural and specific forms of antioxidants need to be used when preventing or fighting cancer, something only your integrative naturopathic doctor would know. The other takeaway from these cancer promoting studies is that although some science can verify that cancer cells may thrive on antioxidants, there’s no concrete evidence that this can even occur in humans, nor that any drawback of antioxidants would outweigh its vast benefits. So as it stands now, when it comes to antioxidants, it is very safe and beneficial to consume dietary and natural sources, and in regularly high dose amounts. 


Fact 2: It’s all in the skin

Most of us know that antioxidants are good for us, and that one of the best places to get them is from fruits and vegetables, however did you know that the most concentrated dose of antioxidants is usually found in the skin (and sometimes in the seed)? Berries, for example, concentrate over 90% of their antioxidant capacity in the skins and not in the flesh of the fruit. This is one reason why fruits and vegetables should be eaten in whole food form, and not by peeling the skin or peel away before consuming. So when it comes to cancer, the more skin of fruit and vegetables you eat, the higher the likelihood of lowering your risk of cancer even more. 


Fact 3: Antioxidants will help you recover from cancer treatment

When it comes to integrative medicine, we know that providing specific antioxidants to people who have already been treated for cancer, are in remission, and are eager to engage in reducing reoccurrence, will help reduce the chance that the cancer will return again. It’s already been shown that post radiation or post chemotherapy antioxidant support can improve the body’s ability to put itself into a more anti cancer state, by improving the immune system, reducing the pathways needed to promote cancer, and improving overall health, which all play a major role in reduction of reoccurrence and overall cancer prevention.


Fact 4: Some high dose antioxidants can actually act as pro oxidants (this is a good thing!)

There are some instances where providing a really high dose of antioxidants will actually cause a pro oxidative effect. This basically means that rather than an antioxidant doing its ‘normal’ job to exert anti oxidant health effects, it will do the complete opposite, technically against what the normal purpose of an antioxidant is used for. A perfect example of this is high dose vitamin C. Using a safe and effective treatment approach, very high doses of vitamin C will actually work in your favour and slow or stop the growth of cancer cells by using this pro oxidative effect. 


Fact 5: Oral antioxidants have natural UV skin protection

One of many formidable ways to reduce your risk of cancer is to properly balance and protect your skin from ill effects of over exposure to the sun and environmental toxins. Using sun screens is one way to properly protect your skin and to thus help prevent skin cancers. By orally consuming specific anti oxidants, there has been enough robust research to indicate that certain antioxidants actually protect the skin from the inside out. We know that antioxidants are good for your skin (helps to keep your skin young and healthy), however research also shows that some antioxidants are natural UV protectors and can provide the exact same protection similar to that of UV protection in traditional sun screens.


These are just some of the the beneficial effects of regularly consuming antioxidants on a daily basis. Antioxidants are extremely powerful when it comes to bettering your health, and when applied to an anti cancer preventative approach, taking advantage of their power has, almost endless, and far reaching benefits.