We've been told and have believed for some time, that antioxidants reduce the risk of several health conditions by helping taxed cells in the body minimize or repair the adverse effects of free radicals and oxidative stress.
However, Dr. Shawn Talbott, a sports medicine, nutrition and fitness expert and author of 10 books, including his upcoming "Deadly Antioxidants" which is set for release in February 2015, says that roughly half of us — those who regularly take antioxidant supplements — might be getting too much of a good thing.
Free radicals cause a chain reaction in your body by altering chemicals on the cellular level that can trigger cell damage.
They’re naturally formed when you exercise, when your body converts food into energy, and by a variety of environmental factors, such as smoking, too much sun exposure and air pollution.
The emphasis on getting enough antioxidants to maintain good health, vitality and ward off harmful oxidative damage associated with a slew of chronic health conditions — such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, macular degeneration and aging — have led some of us to overdose on dietary supplements.
“Humans have a tendency to presume if a little of something is good for us, then more has to be better,” said Talbott. When it comes to antioxidant supplements, too much of a good thing could actually be causing irreparable harm, from accelerating the aging process to potentially encouraging cancer to more rapidly grow and spread.
So far research has not shown antioxidant supplements to be beneficial in preventing diseases, according to the National Cancer Institute. In fact, supplementing our diets with megadoses of vitamins A, C, E, D, beta carotene, lutein and lycopene and the trace element selenium, may actually cause more problems than they prevent.