Antioxidants under attack...again

OK, so now you should be seeing a trend in the media promulgated by the various unethical medical journals all snugly perched under the AMA blankets, and staring back at us while hiding their agendas. Cynical you say? Well, let's start looking at what the media keep telling you about your supplements.


Studies Suggest Multivitamins Are Useless and Possibly Dangerous (Inquisitr) When Vitamins Backfire (Beth Skwarecki PLOS Journal) Vitamin D health benefits found questionable at best (Meg Madison, Examiner) Supplements Tied to Higher Prostate Cancer Risk (ABC News Radio) Antioxidants may speed up lung cancer progression ( Medical News Today)
Makes you wonder about taking those supplements huh? Of course the risks of a health issue are very low considering no reports of death have been made in the last 5 years, compared to oh, about 120,000 deaths a year taking pharmaceutical drugs, but there again why would a small detail like that be a concern when it comes to making a lot of money off the consumer with unnecessary drugs.


Anyway, a new study published in the Journal of National Cancer Institute links supplementation with Selenium and Vitamin E to an increased risk of prostate cancer. Seriously? This conclusion is the latest to come out of the seriously flawed SELECT Trial, an ongoing study of more than 35,000 American men aged 55 and older. Yes, I know, when the subject number is that high you would think that the data would be good data, but as we've discussed other times, the trial supposedly started on the hunch that supplementing with selenium and vitamin E might reduce the risk of prostate cancer, although the motives now seem less clear. But initial results in 2008 suggested that Selenium and Vitamin E, taken alone or together, did not prevent prostate cancer. In fact vitamin E supplements appeared to raise the risk of the disease by 17 percent. The latest analysis of the data would seem to confirm that. But as the old saying goes when it comes to data, "Garbage in. Garbage out." As I've said, the SELECT trial is seriously flawed and cannot be used as the basis for any nutritional conclusions. The data being analyzed this time is the same "garbage" used before. The vitamin E used was the synthetic version of E, known to be far less effective than natural E…and possibly harmful. Remember from earlier blogs, synthetic supplements are man made, not natural vitamin derivatives. We simply cannot duplicate the strength and efficacy of naturally-based vitamins.  


And then there's the study that was published in January in Science Translational Medicine that concluded that supplementing the diet with the antioxidants N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and Vitamin E markedly increases tumor progression and reduces survival in mice with induced lung cancer. They reported that RNA sequencing revealed that NAC and vitamin E increase tumor cell proliferation by reducing free radical induced DNA damage, which then leads to a reduced p53 expression in mouse and human lung tumor cells. The researchers further stated that because mutations in p53 occur late in tumor progression, antioxidants may accelerate the growth of early tumors or precancerous lesions in high-risk populations such as smokers and patients with COPD. To quote from study author Martin Bergo of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden:
"Antioxidants caused a three-fold increase in the number of tumors and also tumor aggressiveness, and the antioxidants caused the mice to die twice as fast."


Wow, pretty compelling, almost scary. So scary in fact it's almost as if someone wants you to be fearful of taking supplements, hmmmm that fear tactic again. Remember, all of these studies that we're talking about are seriously flawed and essentially irrelevant--and this study is no exception.


As already discussed, a study on mice only has about a 4-20% chance of translating to humans, although, to be fair, the p53 gene plays the same role in both mice and humans, so we can give the researchers one point for affiliation.


Once again though, the researchers used synthetic vitamin E, not natural full spectrum E. Duh, when will we get it, synthetic anything is bad. Cheap vitamins are exactly that, cheap and ineffective. Full spectrum E is an eight part complex consisting of four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. You will be able to identify real organic E as alpha, beta, gamma or delta tocopherols, often written as d-alpha-tocopherol. If it has an l, it;s bad (dl-alpha tocopherol). Synthetic E only has one of those eight components: alpha tocopherol. But it gets worse. Of that one component, only 12.5% is natural E. The other 77.5% is a synthetic form of vitamin E not found in nature, its a component that trends in the opposite spectral direction. The synthetic dl-alpha tocopherol is created using refined oils, trimethylhydroquinone, and isophytol. It is not as easily absorbed, doesn’t stay as long in tissues, and is quickly dispelled like a toxin or unknown chemical. It's really not very hard to see how that much of a synthetic chemical substance taken every day as a "supplement" might have consequences.


You know, this is the exact same scenario that we saw in an earlier study that concluded that beta carotene accelerates lung cancer. That study, like the Vitamin E study, was conducted with a synthetic version of the vitamin/antioxidant. However, and this is the important concept to take away from this, pre-cancerous changes revert to normal tissue with natural beta-carotene supplements, but not with the synthetic supplements.


This study, as did several of the others that we've talked about, concluded with a blanket indictment of all antioxidants based on a study of two. If you know how many studies on antioxidants finding positive results have been done, this statement should be a laughable statement; instead I find it somewhat despicable that someone would mess with the publics mind so much. I mean, that would be like generalizing about the safety of ALL pain medications based on a study of one or two--Vioxx, for example. This is false logic and should never have passed peer review.


Not all antioxidants are the same. They are as different as people. Although, they're all people, they look different; they act different, have different skills, and talk different languages. Likewise, different antioxidants work on different free radicals; they work in different parts of the body; and they work through different mechanisms. Some protect against aging. Some protect against cardiovascular damage. And some protect against cancer. Anyone making a blanket pronouncement on all antioxidant supplementation based on one study, on one kind of cancer, using one kind of antioxidant--and a synthetic or inorganic one at that--is practicing bad science and doing your health a disservice