I've just come across a fascinating page on how anti-oxidants found in plants/fruits may REALLY work: by increasing the bodys internal capacity to deal with plant-borne toxins (polyphenols, phytonutrients etc).
Really emphasises the need to varying toxin load, especially on low carb diets. I myself have been known to gravitate towards the green leafy kind perhaps more often than optimally nutritional, generally for their superior carb:nutrient ratio.
Would love to know your thoughts.
asked byZenFire (281)
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on July 28, 2011
at 01:01 PM
This was covered by Stephan Guyenet and Kurt Harris previously. Please see attached
Here is a key quote from Kurt Harris in one of the above link -
Eat enough plant material to keep you out of constant ketosis. Favor plants as whole foods rich in starch over fructose for caloric value, but try to include a moderate variety of colorful plants as well, for the likely hormetic effects. After these criteria, pick the particular plants you eat based on palatability and your individual tolerance.
Back to a final summary comment from Stephan: Supplementing with polyphenols and other plant chemicals in amounts that would not be achievable by eating food is probably not a good idea.
on September 17, 2011
at 06:36 AM
Most popular discussions of antioxidants are based on an outdated view of free radicals as evil, toxic compounds, ones which cause chain reactions of destructive damage culminating in degenerative diseases and aging. Research in recent years has revealed that, in addition to cellular energy production, radicals play a crucial roles in many important physiological processes, including signal transduction, cell-cycle regulation, and immune function. Long-lived organisms, like humans, have developed very sophisticated enzymatic systems for controlling and utilizing radicals. These natural antioxidant defenses are much more effective than crude antioxidant supplements which have not been shown to be effective at preventing aging, or any degenerative disease. Some clinical trials of antioxidant supplementation have even found harmful effects. A number of such trials have been prematurely terminated for this reason. In fact, to date, despite decades of intense research, and thousands of studies, with extremely few exceptions, like radiation sickness, conclusive evidence has not been found that radical formation is a causative factor in the pathogenesis of diseases.
on July 28, 2011
at 01:41 PM
I have no doubt that good wild berries have certain components that make them very valuable. Like finnish wild lingonberry is very high in resveratrol. And blueberries have been marked to be healthy for cardio vascular system. I am sure due to the huge amounts of berries that our forest have, our nordic genes really "demand" them to be eaten.
Here when go to a forrest they are the first food that you can still easily find. Orthers are mushrooms and herbs. I do not eat cultivated berries, they taste much worse, and you can gather the wild berries for free. I just need a bigger freezer :D Same with cultivated mushrooms, they taste like nothing. Cant compare them to some wild delicious chantarelles :)
on September 17, 2011
at 04:44 PM
Even the healthiest human specimen produces free-radical by-products through normal functional metabolism. So I don't think it's a shocker for science to determine that free-radicals serve some useful purpose somehow, somewhere in the body. But I think it's dangerous to generalize that any amount of free-radical waste is a normal, useful component of a healthy metabolism. Free radicals are molecules that lose hydrogen atoms and when they do they steal hydrogen atoms from essential molecules required in metabolism. So while a small amount of free radicals can be managed by the body, the large amount produced by consumption of SAD has no place in our biochemistry and we likely don't have the ability to defend against high levels. For instance, an enormous amount of free radicals result from consumption of unstable vegetable fats that oxidize and degrade easily. Should we stuff our faces with Omega-6 fats because we discover free radicals serve some useful purpose?
During an infection, inflammation is required in small amounts, for clotting, swelling and recruitment of white blood cells to phagocytize viruses, bacteria and cellular debris. Just because our body requires inflammation doesn't mean any amount of inflammation beyond the scope of a normal infection will be tolerated. Do we want systemic inflammation in the body because there are cases where a small amount of inflammation is useful?
Given high consumption of inflammatory molecules in our SAD, the unnatural levels of toxins in the air we breathe and the water we drink, I think our bodies do require assistance in defending against excessive free-radical production. Considering our state of unnaturally high inflammation, I believe we're living in an era where we must consume more polyphenols and phytochemicals that act as antioxidants.
If plant compounds were so toxic to the human organism, this Earth and all of its vegetation would've killed off our species a long time ago.
on September 17, 2011
at 05:37 PM
ugh - I would never advocate pumping anyone full of synthetic antioxidants. Results from these studies do confirm that a sh*t ton of synthetically derived compounds are dangerous. However, what if you get them from whole foods? CAN you get the same amount from whole foods at any given moment? Whole foods also provide a bunch of other compounds which work synergistically with the anti antioxidants that they provide. You will never find food in nature that imparts only ONE nutrient in such massive amounts as shown in these studies.
If a little is good, more must be better Derpa derp.
on September 17, 2011
at 12:10 PM
Free radicals have its postive role in the body and its negative role. When balance is out, they are harmful, the same as with wrong w-6/w-3 ratio and so on.
There are thousands of trials that show benefit and also those that show harm. Metastudies are meaningless given the wast range of different types of formulations used and different types of people [but usually those very sick]. Its stupid to put all antioxidants in the same group and analyze them as a whole as much as it is stupid to see CHO, protein or fat as harmful as a whole.
The fact is, any kind of pathogen and your WBCs use free radical attack. Its something found in any physiology book. In times of stress, your AO balance is out which is shown by the fact that acute phase induces acute deficiency of number of essential substances.
I find really telling that IV dosage of ascorbate produces such fantastic results in animals and humans [plus all animals make 10s of grams per day under any kind of stres]. You must understand that it is not part of every day physiology but we shift more and more to such outcomes because we are depleted (isn't vitamin D or Mg telling how much are we depleted ? ). Depleted animals and plants can't find pathognes correctly or can't fight them at all because they miss basic resources. Thats why we have GMO plants, as normal ones can't protect themselves and thats why we have rise of antibiotic usage and similar. Colateral damage should not to be ignored when our immune system is in question and also, overreaction to some viruses is well known (i.e. spanish flue) and wrong dietary choices (too much w-6) bring it up more.
I think we need antioxidants as a civilization. As individuals, that depends. Although I appreciate hormetic view of getting stronger page, and maybe it works for him given his wast knowledge of health and physiology, for majority of people AO is good idea. Also, keep in mind that most, if not all antioxidants are used in the body in different ways. C is used as AO, for dopamine synthesis, for bile and adrenalin secration, for collagen synthesis. ALA is used as AO and as chelator. Its impossible to limit those variables on current state of science.
So, it depends on your status, but its much more probable that you need them. It also depends on whom you put your faith into. Oh my science!