In another blow to the supposed cancer-fighting powers of vitamins C and E, new research suggests that supplement forms of the vitamins don't prevent the disease in women.
And another widely touted supplement, beta carotene, didn't help either, the new study found.
"Simply taking antioxidant supplements is insufficient to prevent cancer development," said study lead author Jennifer Lin, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
But it's still a good idea to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables that are rich in nutrients such as antioxidants, Lin said.
Vitamin supplements have taken hits in a number of studies in recent years, with some research suggesting that supplements such as vitamins B, C, D, E, folic acid and calcium don't prevent cancer when taken in combinations or alone. The findings contradict other studies that had suggested the vitamins may have a protective effect due to antioxidants, which reduce damage to cells in the body.