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.

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).

How Long Will It Be Until You Can Get an Anti-Aging Pill?

Last month a team of doctors and scientists made the case to regulators at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to consider approving anti-aging drugs as a new pharmaceutical class. Such a designation would treat aging as disease rather than a natural process, potentially opening the door to government funding for anti-aging drug trials.

Source: How Long Will It Be Until You Can Get an Anti-Aging Pill?

Aging is very expensive for post-industrial society. The reason why pensions, retirement plans and government stipends like social security exist is because many old people are not physically able to work anymore and have a huge range of medical conditions, all stemming from the frailty of aging, that need to be treated or, more likely, merely stanched and bailed out like a sinking ship.

A cure for aging would minimize these expenses, but now you have more people in the workforce who aren’t leaving any time soon.  The age of retirement gets pushed back, and the retirement planning changes.  There’s also the sociological impact of older people who continue living – lots these days have grandparents who are incredibly racist/bigoted.  I don’t advocate the death of simply because, but there is something to be said for a generation passing the torch so we can evolve.  Which also plays into health aspects, as an older generation is likely to be susceptible to something future generations might not.

There are some very serious implications to keeping people alive longer.

You Might Never Love Exercise (But Do it Anyway)

There seems to be a cultural consensus that you have to love fitness. People will tell you that if you don’t like exercising, it’s just because you haven’t found what you like, or you’re not doing it frequently enough to engage a positive feedback loop. As a fitness writer and coach who has been training consistently for over a decade, I can confidently say that I don’t like exercising, and that’s okay.

Source: You Might Never Love Exercise (But Do it Anyway)

I dislike [activity], but I love having done [activity].

For a while, that was me and running.  Running still isn’t my “go to” thing to do, but I don’t have the distaste for it that I used to.  Motivation hasn’t been an issue for me – I can get into a rut very easily, so as long as I make an effort.

The benefits of exercise are real.  It’s worth the effort to make the change.

Milk May Do a Body More Harm Than Good

Contrary to popular belief, drinking large amounts of milk each day does not lower a person’s risk of bone fractures and instead may be associated with a higher rate of death, according to a new study. This is counter-intuitive to what has long been championed by some doctors and nutritionists: A diet rich in milk products can build strong bones and reduce the likelihood of fractures for those at risk for age-related bone loss.

Source:

The article stresses at the end that this is correlation, not causation.  But they did say that eating yogurt or inferior curdled milk-based products such as cottage cheese did give the “positive benefits associated with milk,” without any of the excruciating bone fractures and premature death.

You do not need to eat dairy foods to get the calcium you need in your meal plan. Calcium is provided by a wide variety of foods, and in order to get 1,000 milligrams per day (the Dietary Reference Intake, or DRI for women and men 19-50 years of age), you could eat sardines, scallops or sesame seeds.  There’s plant sources but being spinach and such, the vitamin K content is a concern.  Lots of processed foods are calcium fortified because the food sources aren’t part of the typical diet, but the value is debatable.  For more information on calcium see this page.

For more information on vitamin D and how it functions, see this post.

Exercise: THE Anti-Ageing Pill

Muscle loss is no longer seen as just a side effect of disease and frailty – it’s also a prime cause. As well as contributing to falls, muscle loss has serious knock-on effects on metabolism (see “Life-saving muscle”). In future, muscle-boosting drugs could aid those unable to maintain muscle mass through exercise such as weight training. Although researchers stress this isn’t about bodybuilding, but keeping muscles in your limbs at a healthy level.

Source: Exercise may be the best anti-ageing pill

I rather dislike that the article goes on about drugs/pills/medication research.  Doing some exercise – running is actually quite good for you but you do need to do at least an hour for a benefit.  A yoga or Pilates class would likely do wonders.  They stress that exercise does not mean over-exaggeration to the point of taking up body building.

The article mentions calcium – here’s a link with a run down of calcium details, including food source information.  It’s likely to be difficult for those who avoid dairy, and vegan is an additional complication due to avoiding fish.

The key will always be to figure out what works for you.