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Antioxidants may tame cancer: study

A diet rich in antioxidants was linked with a lower risk of having a more aggressive form of prostate cancer in new research.

New research links high consumption of antioxidant-rich foods, like berries, with less aggressive prostate cancer.

Terrence M. Vance, PhD, of the University of Connecticut and his team analyzed data from 855 African American and 945 Americans of European heritage enrolled in the North Carolina-Louisiana Prostate Cancer Project. All had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The researchers gleaned the antioxidant info from dietary questionnaires that included reports of food and supplement intake. They calculated the total antioxidant capacity (TAC) of the subjects’ diet from analyzing the vitamin C equivalent antioxidant capacity of 42 antioxidants measured by the questionnaire. The researchers classified each case of cancer as having a low, intermediate or high level of aggressiveness based on the clinical stage of the disease, the subjects' Gleason score (a common grading system that evaluate the pattern of cancer cells) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels at diagnosis.

“These data suggest that greater intake of antioxidants is associated with less aggressive prostate cancer. Additional research is needed to confirm these results and determine the underlying mechanisms,” wrote Vance and co-authors in the journal Nutrition and Cancer.

Researchers are accruing more evidence about nutrition’s impact on the disease. Another recent study suggests vitamin D may slow or prevent low-grade prostate cancer from progressing.

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