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Antioxidant Intake Associated With Lower Risk of Pancreatic Cancer

An extensive British study recently discovered a correlation between the development of pancreatic cancer and low blood levels of selenium, vitamin C and vitamin E. Participants with the highest intakes of selenium, vitamin C and vitamin E were 67% less likely to develop pancreatic cancer compared to those with the lowest intakes.

Additionally, people in the top 25% intake of selenium had a 50% reduced risk of developing pancreatic cancer compared to those in the bottom 25%.

The researchers examined data from the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC) study. The study included 23,658 participants between the ages of 40 and 74 who completed daily food diaries for one week, and then were followed for 10 years.

While they could not determine a causal relationship between nutrient intake and the prevention of pancreatic cancer, they believe the reduced risk is due to the high antioxidant properties of these essential nutrients. They theorize that the antioxidants play a protective role by knocking out the pro-oxidants that cause the damage that leads to cancer.

This study was conducted by researchers at the University of East Anglia in the UK. Their findings were published online ahead of print on July 23, 2012, in the journal Gut.

Antioxidants fight the damage done to cells by free radicals in the body. Previous studies have shown that vitamin E intake is associated with lower cholesterol, healthier skin, maintaining a proper hormonal balance, and preventing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Vitamin C has been associated with immune system function, heart health, brain health, eye health and improved mood. Selenium is important for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and immune dysfunction.

Dietary vitamin C can be found in oranges, kiwis, guava, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cantaloupe and green peppers. Dietary sources of vitamin E include sunflower seeds, breakfast cereal, tomatoes, dried herbs, and dried apricots. Some foods rich in selenium are Brazil nuts, mushrooms, garlic, sunflower seeds, walnuts, raisins, pork and fish.

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