Part III: Antioxidant vitamins

Calories are energy. 

There are various forms of energy that can be used by the body; the three major ones are sugar, fat, and protein.  These all must be converted in the cell into another form, mostly ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate) in order to provide energy for the cell to function. 

Other conversions happen, including sugar into other carbohydrates or fat, and fat into sugar. 

Every time an energy conversion happens some oxygen free-radicals are produced.  These are highly reactive and can damage whatever they contact. 

This is why it’s important to have anti-oxidant vitamins everywhere in the body where energy is used.

We are often told by those who peddle vitamins that it’s impossible to get enough anti-oxidants in our food, that we need to supplement in order to prevent the oxidation of our DNA and proteins that causes heart disease, cancer, and many other illnesses.  This, however, is only true if we’re eating more calories than we use. 

The more we eat, the more free-radicals are formed, but it’s not a one-to-one ratio.  We make many times more free-radicals than we eat in calories so as we eat more calories, we need many times more anti-oxidant vitamins to absorb them and prevent damage.  This is the reason we are told to take mega-doses of vitamins as a preventative.

However, if we begin to think about it, we could consider the other alternative:

Decrease the calories we eat. 

In fact, research clearly shows that calorie restriction is universally good for the body.  Studies in worms, yeast, cats, spiders, monkeys and other animals show increased life span, longer youth, greater energy, and fewer illnesses with calorie restriction.  Taking vitamins just doesn’t give such a dramatic benefit.

This is one of those “good-better-best” situations: Taking vitamins is good. 

Getting your vitamins from your food by eating high-nutrient foods is better. 

However, eating high-nutrient, low calorie foods and limiting the calories you take in is best.

Dr. Saunders

p.s. Here’s a video by Fred Flintstone: