The results from a major, long-term cancer prevention study has concluded that neither long-term supplementation with vitamins E and/or C reduced the risk of prostate cancer, or other cancers, for over 14,000 American men.
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) experts, taking a dietary supplement does not provide the same benefits as a healthy diet.
Experts believe that it is the interaction of the vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals in plant foods that provides cancer protection.
Adding just a handful of these compounds to a supplement will not provide the same health benefits as eating a varied plant-based diet.
While the emerging evidence suggests that antioxidant supplementation is not likely to ward off cancer, research consistently shows that a diet high in antioxidant-rich plant foods, nonstarchy vegetables and fruits in particular, probably offers protection from several types of cancer.
Each individual fruit and vegetable offers its own profile of these protective substances, so AICR recommends including a wide variety in your diet each day.
There is lack of a clear-cut benefit to taking antioxidant supplements concerning the use of excessive antioxidant supplementation during treatment for cancer: Some studies show decreased effectiveness of chemo and radiation treatments when antioxidant supplements are taken simultaneously while other studies show increased effectiveness of these same therapies when antioxidants are used.
This concern is however in regard to supplementation, not antioxidants received from food sources. Continuing to eat a healthy diet rich in plant foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains is recommended as much during cancer care as it is before and after treatment.