This Truth About Free Radicals Is Going To Shock You

This Truth About Free Radicals Is Going To Shock You

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Free radicals are bad and antioxidants are good for people. This is what we have been believing all these years. What if that is not entirely true? What if free radicals could be beneficial and antioxidants are bad for certain people?

What they found through a research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center reported last fall gather some evidence that antioxidants are not good for people who already have cancer.

The History

Scientists have known that free radicals have the ability to cause serious damage to cells and can even trigger some cancers. Antioxidants, as research suggests, can neutralize those effects.

The Present

Antioxidants are still good for healthy people. But they are not good for people who already have cancer. Martin Bergo, a cancer biologist at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, suspects that though free radicals can harm healthy cells, they can also be toxic to cells that are already cancerous. So that may mean if antioxidants curb free radicals they may also be of benefit to cancer cells rather than hurting them (once the cells are present). So taking antioxidants may be likened to petting cancer (if already present).

Science reported further:

A team led by molecular toxicologist Donna Zhang at the University of Arizona in Tucson has now taken a different tack. With colleagues in China, she focused on a protein called NRF2. It regulates a cellular defense response that helps protect cells from oxidative damage caused by environmental toxins or carcinogens. Although NRF2 has many benefits, loss of NRF2 regulation leads to high levels in certain cancer cells, such as some lung cancers, and it may help them migrate, Zhang says.

Who are at risk?

This is a bad news for Type-2 diabetics. People who have type 2 diabetes are already at an increased risk of cancer, so what they will do with this new information regarding antioxidants “is a dilemma,” said Zhang. She added further that she believes diabetes patients with cancer should not take drugs that activate NRF2, just to be on the safe side.

Dr. David Nathan, director of the diabetes center at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, told Science in an email that “what is ironic here is that [free radicals are] generally thought to be bad in human diabetes, because they can cause dysfunction in cells that manufacture insulin, as well as lead to vascular complications. As such, antioxidant treatment has been touted as necessary, especially given the results of prior research indicating that such treatment is effective against cancer.”

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