New Study Finds Antioxidants Do Not Increase Melanoma Risk

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 by: S. L. Baker, features writer
Tags: melanoma, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. However, if it's recognized and treated early, it is almost 100 percent curable. On the other hand, if melanomas are ignored, they can spread to other parts the body and be fatal. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) about 69,000 Americans will be diagnosed with the malignancy this year and around 8,650 will die from this cancer. Causes have been linked to genetics (being a natural blonde or redhead raises your risk) and serious sunburns.

Fortunately, as NaturalNews has previously reported, specific nutrients have been shown to help prevent melanoma ( So when findings from the Supplementation in Vitamins and Mineral Antioxidants (SUVIMAX) study concluded that women who took antioxidant supplements (low doses of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, selenium, and zinc) for about seven and a half years had four times the risk of getting melanoma than those not taking antioxidants, it was puzzling.

In fact, in 2007 the SUVIMAX researchers proclaimed "regular intake of such nutrients may be associated with harmful effects" and reports in the mainstream media were quick to warn about the supposed dangers of vitamins and other supplements. But to anyone who has looked into the research on the benefits of nutrients, this study simply didn't make sense. After all, at least half of US adults now use nutritional supplements regularly and melanomas are not rampant.

Now a study published in the August issue of the Archives of Dermatology shows the earlier anti-supplement research conclusions were just plain wrong. As the researchers conclude in their new paper, there is "no evidence of an association between use of supplemental antioxidants and melanoma risk, and the results did not vary by sex."

A team of researchers from Kaiser Permanente Northern California, the University of California at San Francisco, University of Washington Medical Center, and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center sought to confirm the SUVIMAX findings by investigating the incidence of melanoma in the Vitamins and Lifestyle (VITAL) study, a large population-based prospective cohort study of 69,671 women and men. VITAL was specifically designed to find any association between cancer and the use of nutritional supplements. Between 2000 and 2002, when the study first began, volunteer research subjects completed a 24-page questionnaire about lifestyle factors, health history, diet, supplement use and other cancer risk factors.

Dr. Maryam M. Asgari of Kaiser Permanente Northern California and colleagues found over sixty percent of participants in the VITAL study were either taking or had taken multivitamins. The scientists looked at a variety of multivitamin exposures -- including how long vitamins were taken, dosage, and years of use since age 21 years. The results? There was absolutely no risk found between taking vitamins and the risk of developing a melanoma.

In addition, the researchers also looked to see if there was a risk of melanoma associated with long-term use of beta carotene and selenium (from multivitamins plus individual supplements). Once again, they found no increased risk of melanoma associated with these supplemental nutrients. In their paper, the scientists point out that they aren't the only ones to find no melanoma risk from taking nutritional supplements. The Nurses' Health Study -- a huge study involving 162,000 women -- reported no association between intake of vitamins A, C, and E and melanoma risk either.

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