Another possible negative for antioxidants

I love reporting on research that supports my favorite theories, and also on research that challenges them.  In the post The anti-antioxidant side of the story I reported on research suggesting a couple of possible downsides to antioxidant supplementation.  A just-published research publication suggests another possible downside: Antioxidant and oncogene rescue of metabolic defects caused by loss of matrix attachment.  “Normal epithelial cells require matrix attachment for survival, and the ability of tumour cells to survive outside their natural extracellular matrix (ECM) niches is dependent on acquisition of anchorage independence. Although apoptosis is the most rapid mechanism for eliminating cells lacking appropriate ECM attachment, recent reports suggest that non-apoptotic death processes prevent survival when apoptosis is inhibited in matrix-deprived cells.”  Specifically “detachment of mammary epithelial cells from ECM causes an ATP deficiency owing to the loss of glucose transport.”  The ATP deficient cells being in a state of stress had high levels of ROS expression and eventually died off, a good thing.  This kind of cell death is important because many cancers suppress the expression of apoptotic genes.  However, exposing the detached cells to antioxidants tended to restore ATP production and rescue the rouge cells, a bad thing.  

Another report on the same research states “Can antioxidants also promote cell transformation? MCF-10A cells expressing oncogenes that promote proliferation and suppress apoptosis (either human papillomavirus E7 and BCL-2, or ERBB2) exhibit limited colony formation in soft agar, but antioxidant treatment increased both the number and the size of colonies.” – “–antioxidants may promote tumours by suppressing the ability of ROS to prevent outgrowth of cells that are displaced from their natural microenvironment.” I have no idea as to whether the concern is a valid one for the health of live organisms, and, if so, the dimensions of the problem.

Repeating what I said in my earlier post, I stress that taking antioxidants is only one component of what is likely to be an effective anti-aging program such as that identified in my treatise ANTI-AGING FIREWALLS –  THE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY OF LONGEVITY.  Further, taking certain antioxidants in excess quantities could conceivably be dangerous to health or longevity.

About Vince Giuliano

Being a follower, connoisseur, and interpreter of longevity research is my latest career. I have been at this part-time for well over a decade, and in 2007 this became my mainline activity. In earlier reincarnations of my career. I was founding dean of a graduate school and a university professor at the State University of New York, a senior consultant working in a variety of fields at Arthur D. Little, Inc., Chief Scientist and C00 of Mirror Systems, a software company, and an international Internet consultant. I got off the ground with one of the earliest PhD's from Harvard in a field later to become known as computer science. Because there was no academic field of computer science at the time, to get through I had to qualify myself in hard sciences, so my studies focused heavily on quantum physics. In various ways I contributed to the Computer Revolution starting in the 1950s and the Internet Revolution starting in the late 1980s. I am now engaged in doing the same for The Longevity Revolution. I have published something like 200 books and papers as well as over 430 substantive.entries in this blog, and have enjoyed various periods of notoriety. If you do a Google search on Vincent E. Giuliano, most if not all of the entries on the first few pages that come up will be ones relating to me. I have a general writings site at and an extensive site of my art at Please note that I have recently changed my mailbox to
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply