A reminder on anti-oxidant supplements – they don’t do what you think they do.

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A while back I did a piece on the anti-oxidant rage, here.

I’m not sure if I’ve tuned them out, or the media has actually gone a bit quiet on anti-oxidant supplementation, but it’s worth reinforcing because we continue to see a whole lot of misinformation and misleading nonsense in the nutrition industry – you know, berries of various sorts, herbs, teas and such. I’m actually surprised there isn’t a brand of cigarettes boasting anti-oxidants.

The point of my original story is that the body is a lot more complicated than the simplistic “anti-oxidant kills free radicals” messages we are given, much like “stop the boats”. In fact, too much anti-oxidant can be harmful.

This post is just an excuse to point you to one of my favourite new online information sources, The Conversation. This is an online magazine with contributors from academia and industry, who have the luxury of being able to write in-depth about issues, rather than just give you slogans. And of course, the articles are written by people who know the material, not journalists interpreting others.

In particular, this piece : Health Check: the untrue story of antioxidants vs free radicals gives us another good potted summary of this potentially very complex issue. It is presented in a very clear and accessible way, so give it a try.

Once again, the bottom line: a balanced diet gives you as many anti-oxidants as the body needs, so don’t waste your money, or risk your health by supplementing them with special foods and concoctions.


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