Antioxidants include the vitamins A, E and C; the minerals selenium and zinc; and other products like lipoic acid, bioflavonoids, coenzyme Q10, and melatonin. Cancer patients tend to have low blood levels of antioxidants and conventional treatments further deplete them.
It was therefore theorized that antioxidant supplements could be helpful in an integrated approach to cancer, but experts cautioned that not enough was known about their effects and that they could possibly prevent medications from working.
An in-depth analysis of existing studies can be found in the Alternative Medicine Review (2000; 5 (2): 152-163). The authors evaluated more than 100 previously published studies and concluded that, in almost all cases, antioxidants either did not interfere with medical treatments or actually helped them by reducing side effects while at the same time enhancing the medical treatment’s therapeutic effects.