Antioxidants Against Cancer

By William W. Li, M.D. President and Medical Director, The Angiogenesis Foundation

Posted on | By William W. Li, M.D.

Cancer Fighting Antioxidants – What You Need to Know

Antioxidants are being touted almost everywhere you look – the grocery store, on TV and all over the Internet. So, what are antioxidants really, and how do they work?

First off, antioxidants aren’t just a handful of natural substances found in a few fruits and vegetables – there are literally thousands of molecules that properly fall under the heading of “antioxidant” – and they are common in the produce aisle, market stand, and very likely, in your refrigerator at home. 

Although there are many different kinds of antioxidants, they all do something in common: they protect the DNA in our healthy cells from damage caused by free radicals, which come from harmful chemicals that we absorb from things like cigarette smoke, pollution, fried foods, and other environmental sources. Too many free radicals running around the body can cause mutations in DNA that can lead to cancer.  Antioxidants are a gift from Mother Nature, which she’s incorporated into many different types of foods that we can eat. By choosing these foods when we shop or select a meal, we can boost our own defense systems against cancer. 

Foods vs. Pills

Since many antioxidants are sold as pills, it’s important to ask: What’s better – getting antioxidants from foods or in pill form? The honest answer is that we just don’t know. There haven’t been head-to-head clinical studies comparing the two options.  What is very clear to cancer researchers, though, is that human studies of supplement pills alone haven’t yet proven that any single antioxidant supplement is a magic bullet against cancer.

Article written by William W. Li, M.D.
President and Medical DirectorThe Angiogenesis Foundation