Put Down the Acai Juice: Antioxidants Are Not a Miracle Cure

Antioxidants are the master of the health halo: put them in a yogurt, and that yogurt is now a health food. Marketers took that idea and ran, but the science was slim—and the more they research the more scientists find out that antioxidants aren’t the magical disease-shield we’ve been led to believe.

Source: Put Down the Acai Juice: Antioxidants Are Not a Miracle Cure

People need to be careful about these claims that eating or taking such and such will prevent, reverse, cure cancer. There are many types of cancer; it’s not ONE disease. All the healthy eating and exercising in the world didn’t prevent a friends wife from getting HER2+ breast cancer because that type of cancer happens when a gene goes nuts for no apparent reason. All the antiangiogenetic therapy in the world would have only killed her because of the insane rate that the tumor was growing.

Put Down the Acai Juice: Antioxidants Are Not a Miracle Cure

Antioxidants are the master of the health halo: put them in a yogurt, and that yogurt is now a health food. Marketers took that idea and ran, but the science was slim—and the more they research the more scientists find out that antioxidants aren’t the magical disease-shield we’ve been led to believe.

Source: Put Down the Acai Juice: Antioxidants Are Not a Miracle Cure

People need to be careful about these claims that eating or taking such and such will prevent, reverse, cure cancer. There are many types of cancer; it’s not one disease.
When a gene “goes nuts for no apparent reason” that’s exactly the kind of DNA damage that antioxidants are theoretically supposed to prevent: damage happens all the time, our bodies fix it, but every now and then something slips through the cracks and with the right kind of bad luck that can contribute to a cell becoming cancerous.

This is not the same as saying someone is to blame for not eating, or doing a certain thing. Even among things we know cause cancer, like smoking and tanning, you can’t guarantee what will happen.  Plenty of non smokers get lung cancer, for example. There is no “get out of cancer free card” and antioxidants definitely aren’t it.

Why Vitamins May Be Bad for Your Workout

Many people take vitamins as part of their daily fitness regimens, having heard that antioxidants aid physical recovery and amplify the impact of workouts. But in another example of science undercutting deeply held assumptions, several new experiments find that antioxidant supplements may actually reduce the benefits of training.

Source: Why Vitamins May Be Bad for Your Workout

TLDR: avoid high dosages of antioxidants (vitamin C, vitamin E) while training.

Cancer Myths About Antioxidant Supplements Need to Die

The essence of a healthy diet is a bit of a mystery. Everyone knows that a diet full of plant foods—fruits, vegetables, and nuts—is good for you, as it can lower the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other ailments. But scientists, being scientists, want to know the exact reason, and they have long eyed antioxidants. These chemicals, found in high amounts in some plants, quench harmful molecules that can run amok in cells, fatally damaging DNA and the cellular machinery.

As the hypothesis that antioxidants offer health benefits took root in the minds of consumers, however, it shriveled in labs. Mounds of studies, conducted over decades, have found no conclusive link between antioxidants and lower disease risks. And, this month, two studies add to evidence that antioxidants may actually increase the spread and severity of some cancers.

Source: Cancer myths about antioxidant supplements need to die

What I’m missing in this story is whether free radicals can actually promote the growth of cancer cells as healthy cells are damaged. Yes, I get that the downside is that antioxidants can protect growing cancer cells, but what about before cancer cells develop? In other words, can the antioxidant protection against free radicals help prevent the formation of cancer cells in the first place? Or is there no link?

I’d like to point out another medical truism: if men were mice, we’d have cured cancer a long time ago.

Antioxidants May Lead to Cancer Spread, Study Says

Since the term “antioxidants” made the leap from the realm of biochemistry labs and into the public consciousness in the  1990s, Americans have come to believe that more is better when it comes to consuming the substance that comes in things like acai berries, green tea and leafy veggies.

A provocative new study published Wednesday in the journal Nature raises important questions about that assumption.

Source: The latest study about antioxidants is terrifying. Scientists think they may boost cancer cells to spread faster.

This article leaves off a couple of important points on the research

  1. Anti-oxidants increase the rate at which metastases form, and do not appreciably affect the growth of the primary tumor.
  2. The study focused on melanoma xenografts only, some of which are highly metastatic. This will probably apply to other kinds of cancer as well, but that needs to be more fully investigated.
  3. N-acetylcysteine isn’t just an antioxidant.

Here’s the journal article itself (behind a paywall).

The Great Olive Oil Swindle

Sure, it can be misconstrued as pretentiousness, but after a decade of producing her own, she’s an olive oil insider, intimate with last year’s poor harvest. 2014 was a black year for olive oil, a 15-year low in global production that saw key producers like Spain, Italy and Morocco’s output falling 40 to 50 per cent below average.

Source: The great olive oil swindle

It’s not the first time olive oil fraud has been covered, but the nice part about the article is it provides a couple of things to look for when tasting.  I’ve noticed there’s no smell in the normal olive oil I’ve bought to date, but the extra virgin does.  I’ll have to review to figure out if it’s proper.

Coffee: May Protect Against Obesity?

…a new study suggests a chemical compound found in coffee might protect against a host of obesity-related diseases, as well.

…It’s a potent antioxidant called chlorogenic acid (CGA), which scientists focused on in a new study published in Pharmaceutical Research. For 15 weeks, the researchers fed mice a high-fat diet while also injecting them with a chlorogenic acid solution twice a week. Not only did the CGA prevent the mice from gaining weight during the test period, but the effects against obesity were also promising.

Source: Potential Super-Antioxidant in Coffee May Protect Against Obesity

Important notes:

  • the researchers worked with mice
  • the mice were injected with a high dose of CGA – a lot more than you’d get in a standard cup of coffee

Cranberries: How They Get to Your Table

…cranberries, a native North American fruit, “magical,” but he easily talks up a lot of their “neat qualities.”

The health benefits of the berries rich in antioxidants have been well-known for years, and range from anti-inflammatory properties to the ability to help fight urinary tract infections and, some believe, cancer.

The physical structure of cranberries is also a boon for the way they are harvested in bogs or marshes that have been flooded.

Source: Cranberries: How this tangy treat gets to your Thanksgiving table

Did you know that Canada & the US account for 98% of global cranberry production?

In addition to being suited to growing in marsh/bog areas, water harvesting is believed to produce cranberries that are better for us:

If berries floating on top of water get exposed to increased amounts of natural sunlight (in comparison to other growing and harvesting conditions), they are likely to develop greater concentrations of anthocyanins. These greater concentrations of anthocyanins are likely to provide us with stronger health benefits.

Caveat: There’s concern for warfarin/coumadin and cranberry juice – be careful, consult your doctor and/or monitor your levels to see if it’s a concern for you.