National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

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Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Cancer

A longtime theory has argued that the adequacy of the supply of antioxidant vitamins to people’s cells and tissues has a role in cancer’s development, progress, and outcomes. A team headed by Ian Coulter, Ph.D., of the Southern California Evidence-Based Practice Center at RAND, analyzed the literature (selecting 38 studies for detailed review) on whether two antioxidants—vitamin C and vitamin E—prevent, treat, and/or modify the risks for cancer. They concluded that neither of the supplements were effective for these purposes, at the doses and in the populations tested. They noted that there were a few isolated findings of benefit, but these would need to be studied further in order to be confirmed, and the findings from randomized clinical trials were generally negative.

Publication Date: 
July 1, 2006

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