love of all things antioxidant.
While it is difficult to be against antioxidants, I have to say I am not impressed. Oxidation is a normal end-product of metabolism and is required to kill bacteria and, probably tumor cells, within white blood cells. So if you’re not worried about infections or cancer, antioxidants are pretty good. I feel the anti-oxidant story is hugely speculative. Think of all the care and attention goes into clinical trials to develop the efficacy of drugs and the beautiful experiments defining the requirement for the major nutrients, vitamins and elements.Much of what we have on antioxidants is inspired conjecture.
Juice and dried fruits contain a mix of oxidized and unoxidized antioxidants but there is no way of knowing how much in each state. This relates to the argument that any antioxidant can also serve as a pro-oxidant, given the proper conditions. There are both water soluble and water insoluble antioxidants and we don’t know how important the ratio of, or absolue amounts of aqueous versus lipid solubility is for a health benefit.
There haven’t been any convincing studies with antioxidant supplements (mostly vitamin E) to prevent heart disease and it is likely the small benefit seen in some studies (on heart disease only, not on mortality) is due to the anti-coagulant effect of tocopherol. In fact, some studies clearly show harm in patients taking statins and antioxidants.
It is the whole diet, sufficient in its details that matters and is sustainable.
- Martin Eastwood