Antioxidant Supplements- Help or Harm?

Blackberries are a source of polyphenol antiox...

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Blackberries are a source of polyphenol anti-oxidants


Antioxidant supplements bring billions of dollars in revenue each year in the U.S. Americans spend
about $2 billion on Vitamin E, C, and beta carotene alone hoping to fend off heart disease, cancer cells, and amnesia.
But research in the past few years has actually been rather frustrating and a little frightening.

What exactly are antioxidants? A book meaning states they’re substances that neutralize harmful-oxygen-containing cost-free radicals that can trigger cell damages. Anti-oxidants shut out the process of oxidation byneutralizing
free radicals. In doing this, the anti-oxidants themselves become oxidized. That
is why we need a consistent supply because antioxidants “sacrifice” themselves in
the procedure. In certain circumstances, an antioxidant may even function as a ‘pro-oxidant‘that produces hazardous oxygen species that could hurt the cell and its DNA by responses that they are supposed to avoid.

The free radicals come from internal and external sources. They’re created by typical metabolic responses in the body or areproduced by toxins, cigarette smoke, radiation and environmental chemicals. The immune system depends on them to eliminate against toxins, foreign substancessuch as bacteria, and even cancer cells. Nonetheless, they can damage proteins, fats and carbs that reside in
our cell membranes and capillary enabling substances such as lump cells to
enter the blood and metastasize.

Along came the supplement makers and the idea of anantioxidant in a bottle was dreams come true, at least for a while. In 2008, the Cochrane Partnership, an
international body of researchers who analyze medical research looked at 67
studies that consisted of almost 400,000 participants. They concluded that there
was no evidence to support the claim that antioxidant supplements would
decrease death from cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s condition, lung
cancer or other diseases believed to be triggered in component by free radical
production. And even more disturbing was the finding that vitamins C, E and beta carotene in fact increased mortality in many cases. It remains to be comprehended why this occurred.

There have actually been some alarming researches in several intervention trials along with some with blended or a little beneficialresults. Beta carotene seems the most troublesome.

In the Carotenoid and Retinol Efficacy Trial (CARET), 18,314 cigarette smokers or asbestos workers were randomized to get 30 mg of artificial beta carotene and 25,000 IU of retinol (pre-formed vitamin A) or a placebo. The study was terminated 21 months early due to the outcome that there was a 28 % boost in lung cancer cells rates and 17 % more deaths in the beta-carotene team compared with the placebo team. These results were highly constant with the results from the Alpha Tocopherol Beta Carotene Prevention Research with Finnish male cigarette smokers.

In 1997, a study from the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that 60 mg of vitamin E a day reinforced the immune system in a team of healthy participants a minimum of 65 years and 200 mg created a four-to-six fold
improvement after 4 months while, 800 mg of vitamin E resulted in worse
immunity than those receiving no vitamin E at all. So more wasn’t advantageous. Vitamin E is sold as supplements declaring the vitamin content as International Units (IU) as opposed to micrograms specified in the RDA. ·       

The RDA for vitamin E is 15 mg/d or 22.4 IU for people over 14 years. Many vitamin E supplements are offered in doses well above this quantity.

In the Journal of the Medical Association (Feb, 2007), analysts examined the outcomes of 68 medical trials with an overall population of 190,938 subjects. The trials consisted of supplements containing beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium. It was reported that beta-carotene, vitamin A and vitamin E either taken together or alone enhanced mortality significantly. Vitamin C and selenium didn’t appear to affect mortality.

It’s vital to recognize that these results don’t refer to vitamins from foods contain anti-oxidants, only supplements. Supplements commonly consist of high doses while the amounts in most foods are quite low. The phytochemicals in foods not just provide some antioxidant protection, but likewise have valuable hormonal and enzyme benefits. Others disrupt DNA replication therefore preventing cancer cell multiplication. There are also antibacterial results from some foods like allicin in garlic. See my previous post, Antiseptics in the Cooking area.

Just an additional reason to stick with genuine foods. And in this case, more is much better!