Here’s something that could reduce the risks that go along with some of the advanced tools of modern medicine. Imaging techniques like X-rays and CAT scans can catch early-stage cancers and other illnesses when they are still treatable. But exposure to radiation from this equipment can also trigger cancers in some patients.
Now, Canadian researchers are hoping to change that with a special antioxidant supplement that would be given to patients before undergoing an X-ray or CT scan.
A dose of radiation increases the levels of free radicals, unstable molecules that can wreak havoc on cells and break apart DNA.
Antioxidants can neutralize free radicals and potentially limit the harm done to the human genetic code.
Researchers at the University Health Network spent more than a year developing the right mix of antioxidants, which include vitamins and compunds like uric acid.
In a preliminary study, they found 30 to 50 per cent less DNA damage in the blood of volunteers who took the cocktail.
The group has funding for more extensive testing, and the anti-radiation supplement could be publicly available within two years.