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).

Study: Diesel Exhaust Changes Expression of DNA

Based on observing career truck drivers: diesel fumes do not cause weight loss.

Asthmatics who inhaled diesel exhaust fumes for two hours in a study booth didn’t just get itchy eyes and a headache while breathing in the polluted air.

They also experienced effects on a micro level as genes associated with inflammatory and oxidative stress processes were altered.

Source: Breathing diesel exhaust induces DNA changes, study finds

Not surprising when we know that exercise will change the expression of your DNA.

The article gives the test example, and conditions someone might get similar exposure.  Basically, places with heavy air pollution. Ultrafine particles (UFP) are probably both the least well-studied and least regulated form of air pollution.  Likely because they’re somewhat tricky to reliably measure at all in an uncontrolled environment, let alone measured by a means that can be deployed for routine large-scale monitoring.  There’s a small pile of studies showing that they do have health effects, though no one seems to know exactly what the mechanisms or dose-response curves are, or how the short-term effects translate into identifiable disease etiologies. For example, there are studies in both rats and humans consistent with the presence of UFP inhibiting the exercise-stimulated production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a neurological growth factor that is believed to play a key role in multiple psychiatric disorders and even some forms of obesity. There are other studies showing other effects – those were just the ones that particularly came to mind.

Although modern diesel engines are far cleaner than the classic models, they are known to produce considerable amounts of UFP pollution. Gasoline engines and various other technologies (laser printers / photocopiers, various forms of precision machining…) aren’t entirely innocent, either.

I’d heard that most of the breathing masks available on the shelf would not provide much if any protection.  You need something with a good seal, so no beards.  Lumbersexual is not a thing…

Why Winter Swimming Is Good For You

I have yet to do a polar bear swim.  This year, it was a polar bear swim or a cyclocross race… I chose the race.  The local pool is pretty cold as it is, and lately I’m not tolerating the temperature as well as I have – I must have done 100 meters (25m lengths sadly, I miss 50’s when I can’t swim open water).

But the cold being Good for You™ is questionable.  Recent studies confirmed you are more likely to catch cold/etc from cold temperature exposure.  The video also doesn’t mention the details about the groups tested for health benefits – I’m willing to bet the group that didn’t see any benefit did nothing through the same time period.  Exercise is good for you, be it: running, cycling, walking

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.


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.