Antioxidants can increase the chances of cancer and researchers told the reason

Green tea leaves (Credit: Danielle Pigeon/Flickr)

Main Points:

Researchers have found the reason for the increased chances of cancer caused by antioxidants and green tea drinkers should be very cautious in consuming tea.

Published in:

[sociallocker]Scientific Reports

Study Further:

About lung and skin cancer:

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in men and women in U.S. while skin cancer is found to have the highest incidence rate that is rising at an increment of 3% per year.


Antioxidants are the chemicals that inhibit the destructive effects of oxidation, for example, in the body or in foodstuffs and plastics. These are used to reduce the aging process and the chances of cancer and heart diseases.

However, recent studies showed that the antioxidant supplements with β-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium have either no beneficial health effects or they cause a slight increase in human mortality.

Present Study:

In the present study, researchers have found that epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is an antioxidant and is also an important compound in green tea, can cause cell death and DNA damage in human lung and skin normal cells resulting in increased chances of lung and skin cancer. It can initiate breakage of DNA-double strands and can result in cell death. It can also result in increase in mutational frequency.

Researchers found EGCG is much more toxic than H2O2 and cisplatin as toxic and cancer-causing agents.

“As a result, there seem no benefits to supplement EGCG to patients receiving chemotherapy,” Researchers concluded. Based on this finding, they wrote that the green tea drinkers should be very cautious.

Through this study, researchers have also concluded that reductive damage is more likely to cause cancer and other diseases than the oxidative damage.

Research Suggestions:

Researchers wrote that “the finding of a more lethal reductive pathway appears quite puzzling, as oxidative stress has long been thought to be a major mechanism for causing damage or death to the cell and for aging and many human diseases such as cancer and heart disease. However, this puzzling can be solved if the following mystery about the exact functions of ROS in physiological and pathological processes is revealed.” So, you can work on the beneficial roles of ROS.


Linda Y. Lu et al. (2013). Antioxidant Induces DNA Damage, Cell Death and Mutagenicity in Human Lung and Skin Normal Cells Scientific Reports DOI: 10.1038/srep03169

Usman Zafar Paracha

Usman Zafar Paracha is a sort of entrepreneur. He is the author of "Color Atlas of Statistics", and the owner of an Android game "Faily Rocket."

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