Vitamins and free radicals

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.

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Health

Added antioxidants

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.

Antioxidant supplementation
  • In 1994, one trial followed the lives of 29,133 Finish people in their 50s who all smoked. Some were given beta-carotene supplements. The group that supplemented with Beta-carotene had a 16% increase in lung cancer.
  • Another study shows a breast cancer increase of 20% for postmenopausal women who supplemented with folic acid.
  • One study with 100 heavy smokers had a 28% increase in lung cancer after just four years of beta-carotene and vitamin A supplementation.
Not a miracle cure

The idea that antioxidant supplementation is a miracle cure is entirely redundant. 

For instance, excess Vitamin C can become, in itself, a free radical by accepting an electron and in turn, damage cell membranes, proteins, and DNA.

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.

Vitamin supplementation

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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SIMILAR ARTICLES

  • Folic acid for the women thinking of having a baby and pregnant women up to week 12 of the pregnancy.
  • Vitamin D for all pregnant and breastfeeding women, those aged six months to five years or over 65 and for people who are not exposed to much sun.
  • Vitamins A, C and D supplementation are recommended for all children aged six months to four years, especially those not eating a varied diet.
  • If they are prescribed to you for a medical condition.

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IDEAS

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.

It’s a popular practice to take Vitamin C tablets or drink orange juice to boost immunity and ward off the common cold. However, Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, does not prevent or cure the common cold.

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