Why I STOPPED Taking Antioxidant Supplements.
Surprised by this title? You'll be even more surprised by this blog post. If you're even the least little bit "nutrition savvy," you've undoubtedly heard antioxidants praised as "miracle supplements," with benefits like anti-aging properties, increased energy, and even anti-cancer. Antioxidants are credited as one of the primary things in fruits and vegetables that make them so beneficial...but is that really true? When you really dig deep into the research, the answer to this question is pretty shocking.
It's no secret I've been reeeeaaaallly sick this year. I was pretty much stuck in a bed from January until August, no exaggeration at all. As a "doer" by nature, this kind of drove me insane. I am NOT a television watcher (never have been), so when I wasn't sleeping (which was a good amount of the time), I was reading, researching, and studying (yes, I actually was in school all summer...writing a final paper from my hospital bed, no lie). I spent a LOT of time in bed this year...and therefore, spent a LOT of time researching. As painful and problematic as this year was, I learned SO MUCH--yet another reminder of how God truly does work EVERYTHING for good (it's my life motto for a reason, guys)! But back to antioxidants. Through my research, I came across some truly shocking info on these prized substances...shocking NOT in a good way, mind you. But before we get into the research, let's back track a little bit.
What ARE Antioxidants?
Antioxidants, according to Dr. Andrew Weil, are special micronutrients that "block harmful chemical reactions caused by oxidation--the destructive effect of oxygen and other oxidizing agents on the molecular component of cells." (1) Now, if that definition doesn't make much sense to you, it's probably because we need to look at what OXIDATION is.
What is Oxidation?
"Oxidation refers to the process in which an atom or molecule loses electrons. It is an essential part of the conversion of food into energy, but can also be damaging, as it creates substances known as free radicals that can set off chain reactions that ultimately damage or kill cells." (1)
The long-standing supposition is that oxidation is bad, and that by taking antioxidant supplements and eating high-antioxidant foods, we can successfully prevent our cells becoming oxidized, thereby slowing the aging process and even preventing degenerative diseases. However, upon second glance, this isn't exactly true. Confused? Let me explain.
Our cells naturally produce free radicals in the presence of foreign invaders--i.e., anything that damages our cells. These free radicals go on to destroy viruses, pathogens, and other harmful substances...along with any cells that have been harmed by said substances. This is our body's NATURAL way of killing off the mutated, damaged cells--a process that NEEDS to happen. This process of natural cell death, also called apoptosis, is how our own bodies prevent mutated cells from hanging on and wreaking havoc in our bodies...and ultimately causing things like cancer and other cell-mutated/mutating diseases. Now, antioxidants are important to some extent...which is why our own body produces them! But there's a catch. Unlike taking an antioxidant supplement, our body only produces antioxidants (mainly glutathione, the "king antioxidant") WHEN IT NEEDS THEM--none other times. Following me? Ok. When we take antioxidant supplements, we are actually PREVENTING apoptosis from happening...aka, we are keeping those damaged cells from dying--basically feeding and strengthening the mutated cells and helping them stay alive. Scary, right? Well, there's more.
Multiple studies have now shown that supplementing with antioxidants are actually DANGEROUS: they have the ability to promote tumor growth and metastasis (2), block normal cell repair (3), and even increase the risk of all-cause mortality (4), or, in other words, death from any cause. This is no joke! Serious stuff!
As if that's not enough, antioxidants pass through out body (aka we pee them out) in a mere 26 MINUTES. (5) And as we all know (or could guess), the faster the body gets rid of something, the quicker it WANTS to get rid of it.
The truth is, antioxidants are not good for us. Now wait a minute...what about the antioxidants in fruits and vegetables? Great question! Did you know that the highest concentration of antioxidants in fruits and vegetables are in the INEDIBLE, OUTER SKINS OR PEELINGS (or inner, inedible seeds) of the fruit or vegetable? (5) It's true! The antioxidants aren't actually there for OUR benefit--they're there to keep the plant protected, as antioxidants repel insects (5). Antioxidants from food, though not harmful to us like concentrated (oftentimes synthetic) antioxidant supplements, have absolutely no benefit to us, a suppressed truth that can be repeatedly learned from the studies above, and many many more (just do a simple google search!).
Now what supplements am I referring to? Things like alpha lipoid acid, CoQ10, ubiquinol, grape seed extract, ascorbic acid, astaxanthin, resveratrol, etc. Now please remember--I'm referring to synthetic, isolated compounds in supplements...this does NOT mean you should avoid foods with these substances in them (good luck trying to do that...).
So what now?! If antioxidants are dangerous, how are we supposed to support our cells and our body's natural antioxidant production? Well, like I said, your body makes it's OWN antioxidant, glutathione, when it needs it. However, our body's ability to produce glutathione can be significantly compromised when dealing with chronic illness, long-term infections, or even chronic stress (whether physical or emotional). To combat this and support my body's OWN antioxidant production, I take ASEA Redox Supplement every day, twice a day. This stuff is seriously amazing--the science behind it is incredible, and it's truly a revolutionary product. ASEA supports your body's OWN glutathione production, increasing it by up to 800%! Unlike other antioxidant supplements that override your body's natural processes, ASEA supports and strengthens your body's natural processes. How awesome is that?!
If you have questions about ASEA, check out this page or email me at email@example.com.
I hope this info has been helpful to you! If you have any topics you'd like me to discuss here on the blog, please let me know via email message.
Thanks for reading! Until next time,
CPT/CYI/CPBN/CArTh/CPI/DS, Owner of Anna's Organics Wellness