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Antioxidant supplementation boosts melanoma risk

Out of curiosity I looked up the food sources for the antioxidants they gave people. Those results are scary, yes, but we can get all those antioxidants in a good diet. No need for supplementation here! Although I have to admit, I have been tempted by antioxidant and anti-aging supplements. Luckily I always talk myself out of them, because I think much of the supplement industry is a scam.

Vitamine E- Mustard greens, turnip greens, chard, sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, collard greens, parsley, kale, papaya, olives, brussel sprouts, kiwi, tomato, blueberries, broccoli

Vitamin C- broccoli, bell peppers, kale, cauliflower, strawberries, lemons, mustard and turnip greens, brusselssprouts, papaya, chard, cabbage, spinach, kiwifruit, snow peas, cantaloupe, oranges, grapefruit, limes, tomatoes, zucchini, raspberries, asparagus, celery, pineapples, lettuce, watermelon, fennel, peppermint and parsley. (Remember vitamin C is very sensitive to heat though)

Selenium – brazil nuts, button mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, cod, shrimp, snapper, tuna, halibut, salmon, eggs, lamb, barley, sunflower seeds, turkey, mustard seeds, oats

Beta carotene – sweet potato, carrots, kale, spinach, turnip greens, winter squash, collard greens, fresh thyme, cilantro, cantaloupe, romaine lettuce, broccoli

zinc - calf's liver, spinach, crimini mushrooms, pumpkin seeds, beef, lamb, summer squash, asparagus+ more...

I got this all from whfoods.com. To me, the only one of these that sounds slightly difficult to get is zinc, because the best sources are things like calf liver and venison - things I don't eat. There are many vegetables that offer a little zinc though, and pumpkin seeds are also a good source. I for one won't be buying any multivitamins soon! I do have some emergen-c's around that I don't know if I should be drinking (something about too much Vitamin C interfering with other vitamins...) but until they're gone I will just spread out when I drink them.

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Most participants (66%) were either current or past users of multivitamins. Associations between multivitamin use and the incidence of melanoma after adjusting for melanoma risk factors are summarized in Table 1. None of the multivitamin exposure variables, whether expressed as overall use, duration of use in the past 10 years, dose in pill-years, or years of use since age 21 years, were associated with melanoma risk. Specifically, in the highest dose category of multivitamins, which is comparable with the doses of vitamin E, vitamin C, and zinc in the SUVIMAX study, there was no increased risk of melanoma. Results were similar in men (RR, 1.09; 95% CI, 0.83-1.43) and women (RR, 1.14; 95% CI, 0.78-1.66; P = .93 for interaction).

We also examined the risk of melanoma associated with long-term use of supplemental beta carotene and selenium (from multivitamins plus individual supplements) at doses similar to those used in the SUVIMAX trial (daily dose of 100 µg of selenium and 6000 µg of beta carotene). We defined the highest category of beta carotene starting at 3000 µg (6000 µg/d used 7 d/wk for 5 years) and of selenium use starting at 50 µg/d on average (100 µg/d used 7 d/wk for 5 years). There was no increased risk of melanoma associated with these supplemental nutrients at these doses (Table 2).

In this prospective study, we found no evidence of an association between use of supplemental antioxidants and melanoma risk, and the results did not vary by sex. These doses were comparable with those of the SUVIMAX study, as was duration of follow-up (7.5 years vs a mean of 5.0 years and a maximum of 6.0 years). Consistent with the present results, case-control studies examining serologic levels of beta carotene, vitamin E, and selenium did not find any association with subsequent risk of melanoma.4-6 Moreover, the Nurses' Health Study reported no association between intake of vitamins A, C, and E and melanoma risk in 162 000 women during more than 1.6 million person-years of follow-up.7

The association between the SUVIMAX supplement and melanoma risk in women could be explained by methodological shortcomings.8 Their analysis was limited to a subsample of participants who agreed to answer a single question on their lifetime sun exposure ("How would you describe the intensity of your skin's exposure to the sun during your lifetime?"), which could introduce selection bias and limit generalizability. Also, the response to that question, which was the only melanoma risk factor ascertained other than age, current smoking status, and latitude of residence, was excluded from their multivariable analysis. Although their multivariable model found a hazard ratio of 4.31 for women, the 95% CI was wide (1.23-15.13) because the analysis was based on only 16 cases. The study identified few incident melanomas, possibly owing to inaccurate case ascertainment, which may explain the 5-fold lower rates of incident melanomas in the SUVIMAX trial (25 cases per 100 000 person-years) compared with the VITAL study (120 cases per 100 000 person-years).

There are several limitations to this study, including the absence of detailed information on some known melanoma risk factors, such as sunlight exposure at early ages and number of nevi. However, adjusting for the major melanoma risk factors, including age, sex, education, family history of melanoma, color of hair between ages 10 and 20 years, sensitivity to sun, the number of sunburns before age 20 years, and history of freckles and moles, did not alter the risks in the multivariate model. Thus, it is unlikely that including more refined estimates of melanoma risk factors would appreciably change the results. Also, this study relied on self-reported use of antioxidant supplements, and no physiologic measures, such as serum levels, were obtained. Use of self-reported exposure information likely led to some attenuation of the results due to nondifferential measurement error; however, the detailed supplement assessment yielded very good validity and reliability results.9 Specifically, the reliability of 10-year intake as reported on the baseline questionnaire compared with 3 months later yielded intraclass correlation coefficients of 0.81 for multivitamins, 0.69 for beta carotene, and 0.80 for selenium. Comparison of questionnaire-reported current dose of supplements with an in-home pill bottle inventory yielded Pearson correlation coefficients of 0.58 for beta carotene and 0.77 for selenium.

In summary, these data suggest no association between self-reported multivitamin use and supplemental selenium and beta carotene use similar to doses used in the SUVIMAX study and melanoma risk. Strengths of this investigation include its prospective design, its large cohort size (>450 cases), and the availability of baseline information on major potential confounding factors. The results of the SUVIMAX study should be interpreted with caution.


the suvimax study was pretty well debunked some time ago, I don't know why on earth they're trying to bring it up again...

Edited by ayla

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My thoughts are that the vast majority of health/food/nutritional studies are useless since they try to isolate single causal factors in a holistic environment. And even if a study arrives at some conclusion, there is almost always another study that debunks it or arrives at an opposite conclusion. Waste of time and money.

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AFAICT, they did not control for year-round Vitamin D serum levels, which (certainly for skin cancer) is like failing to control for smoking.

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