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Antioxidants do not reduce risk of asbestos-related mesothelioma


Much research has suggested that taking antioxidants as a way to lower the likelihood of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) and other lung diseases linked to asbestos exposure and resulting cellular damage. However, a recent study found that antioxidants may not reduce this risk at all.

The report stated that taking dietary supplements containing selenium and vitamins A and E (all well-known antioxidants) does not seem to lower the rate of MPM among those exposed to asbestos. The authors published their results in the journal Nutrition and Cancer.

One of the best-established theories for how asbestos fibers cause mesothelioma is that they stick in the walls of lung cells, where they then open the door for oxidative damage, broken DNA strands and, eventually, tumor growth.

To test the effects of antioxidants on this process, researchers fed MPM-induced laboratory mice one of seven diets. Some mice received daily supplementary doses of vitamin A, while others receive vitamin E, selenium or a combination of vitamin E and selenium. The other three groups were given feed that was deficient in one of the antioxidants.

The results were discouragingly clear. "We found that neither the time to develop symptoms of disease nor overall survival times were altered by any of the diets," the researchers concluded. 


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