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In the 90s, vitamins were touted as treatments for cardiovascular diseases, cataracts, and even cancer. Sales in multivitamins and other dietary supplements boomed.
But over the years, vitamin C, and many other dietary supplements, have found little backing from scientific study. In fact, they were proven to be more harming rather than helping our bodies.
In the 1970s and into the 80s, research was done where mice were given a variety of supplementary antioxidants in their diet or via an injection straight into the bloodstream.
The result showed that an excess of antioxidants didn't stop the onset of disease or extended lifespan.
Free radicals are essential for our health. They are used as molecular messengers that send signals from one region of the cell to another. Without free radicals, cells would continue to grow and divide uncontrollably, also known as cancer.
Free radicals also increase when our bodies are infected with an unwanted bacterium or virus. Free radicals act as a warning method to our immune system.
Administration of antioxidants is only justified when it is evident that there is a real deficiency of a specific antioxidant.
It is far better to get antioxidants from food because it contains a mixture of antioxidants that work together. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables provides a healthy balance of pro-oxidants and other compounds whose roles aren't fully understood.
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Looking at individual studies won't determine if vitamin supplementation is good for you. They're scientifically dense and the conflicts of interest can be very hard to spot.
Much like a hundred years ago when Spanish Flu killed millions, questionable medicinal concoctions and folk remedies have surfaced across the world, claiming to boost the immune system.
Pills, superfoods, and other wellness habits do not boost our immunity as the 'symptoms' which we get when infected are in fact measures taken by our immune system to respond to the foreign pathogen.
Many allergies that people have are a misguided response from the immune system that treat harmless foreign bodies as harmful pathogens.
While over-the-counter medicines provide us with a so-called ‘relief’ by suppressing our fever, runny nose and other ‘symptoms’, these are in fact necessary for the body to get well. The symptoms we want to be stopped are not our enemy: