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Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2004;44(6):437-52.

Vitamins, phytochemicals, diets, and their implementation in cancer chemoprevention.

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Department of Food Science and Technology, School of Agricultural Biotechnology, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea.


With progressive "Westernization" of the dietary pattern in Asian countries, such as Korea and Japan, unhealthy signs, such as increases in obesity and incidence rate of cancers, are starting to appear in recent statistics. These results support the hypothesis that a dietary pattern of low fats and high antioxidants based on plant foods will reduce the risk of cancer Recently, antioxidative vitamins and phenolic phytochemicals derived from our daily diet have received much attention because of their potential chemopreventive activities. Their chemopreventive mechanisms have been suggested mainly due to their protective effects against oxidative DNA damage. However. several studies have shown that dietary antioxidant supplements, such as vitamins and phenolic phytochemicals, are not beneficial; they may rather, cause DNA damage. These results suggest that a metabolomics approach might demonstrate that antioxidant rich whole diets play a more important role, rather than individual antioxidants in cancer prevention. On the other hand, the chemopreventive mechanisms of dietary vitamins and phenolic phytochemicals may be associated with the inhibition of other carcinogenic processes, particularly tumor promotion, rather than that of tumor initiation. In this article, possible cancer-preventive mechanisms of dietary vitamins and phenolic phytochemicals, are reviewed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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