Certain Antioxidants May Cause Cancer, Are We Surprised?
Quercetin and ferulic acid are antioxidants. I'm sure you've heard the word, as it's commonly printed on the front of food and drink packages at the grocery store, sometimes inside of a starburst, in all caps.
Antioxidants are supposed to get rid of free radicals, which can damage your tissues. Until recently, our collective opinions of antioxidants has been fairly simple.
In short: antioxidants = good.
But a recent study by scientists in Taiwan makes our lives a little less simple. They fed diabetic lab rats the two chemicals, which can be found in our everyday food (quercetin is in onions and black tea, and ferulic acid is in corn, tomatoes and rice bran, among other things).
The ingestion of these antioxidants, which we've had nothing bad to say about before, seemed to correlate with kidney cancer in the rats. The researchers concluded that these phytoantioxidants may exacerbate kidney cancer, or even cause it. You can find the abstract of the research paper here.
And to think they sell the stuff in bottles.
Now, we can't (even though many often do) draw any concrete conclusions from a single study. Repeatability is, after all, key in science. At the same time, though, we shouldn't be surprised that our list of perfectly benign substances may have gotten one entry shorter.
As humans, it's comforting to have absolute trust in something. Some of us have that with our significant others, some of us have that with our dogs. Some of us trust things too easily, and are gullible. But, when it comes to food, how many times do we have to hear that last year's panacea is, this year, harmful in excess?Continued on the next page