If you pay attention to science journalism, you’ve probably heard tell that antioxidant supplements have mostly negative effects on health markers, ranging from impaired training adaptations in response to exercise, extreme hypoglycemia, and even cancer. At their best, these reports say, antioxidants are merely useless and totally ineffective.
So, is this true? Are antioxidants harmful? Are they effective?
Let’s examine some of the specific claims made about antioxidant supplements.
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got a three question roundup. First, I hear from a nursing, weight-lifting, child-chasing mother of four who’s concerned about the amount of food she’s craving – even though she’s already at her pre-baby weight. I (hopefully) allay her concerns in my response. Next, I discuss the ridiculous nature of the conventional dietary advice we give to type 2 diabetics, as well as how there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. I also issue a formal invitation to Tom Hanks, who’s just been diagnosed with the disease. Finally, I explore whether or not DHA truly is bad for adults. Should we only give it to our kids after all?
I get a lot of protein powder-related questions. Some are requests to try or advertise a new product. Others are queries regarding all the different marketing claims. Is whey protein concentrate really better, more “immune-boosting,” and more complete than whey protein isolate? Who wins in a head to head deathmatch – isolate or concentrate? Should you be worrying about the grass-fededness (yep, that’s a word) of your whey protein? And is beef protein isolate better than everything else? It certainly appears to be the most paleo of the bunch, being made from, well, beef.
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’re going to sift through the marketing fluff and get to the meat of the matter. Let’s go:
Last week, I made the case for the inclusion of chill-out, relaxing, and otherwise anti-stress teas and herbs, particularly for the stress-wracked among us (and who doesn’t deal with significant amounts of stress?). Several readers on the last post made the comment that, while effective, these tea ingredients don’t necessarily please the palate. I believe one even used “feet” to describe the flavor and aroma of valerian tea. That may be true, but I’d argue that when your sanity, your testosterone:cortisol ratio, and your mental well-being are on the line, pharmacological efficacy of a particular herb supersedes any concerns regarding its flavor. Stress kills, and, well, we want to live – and live well.
With that said, let’s look at a few more options. With any luck, you’ll find at least a couple that you can stomach and perhaps even enjoy.
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m covering four of your questions. First up is a question from Rachel, an English major who finds herself growing ravenous once exam time rolls around. I discuss whether or not her increased cognitive activity is increasing the amount of fuel her brain is burning through, and whether this affects her hunger. Next I provide a few tips to a young athlete who’s injured and has to rest, but doesn’t want to lose any muscle mass or curtail his fitness pursuits in the process. Luckily, there are a few dietary modifications he can make to preserve that lean mass. Third, I discuss the importance of potassium. It plays a few vital roles in the maintenance of our health, and if you want enough, you’ll have to consume some plants. Finally, I field a question from a woman who’s worried about iron supplementation. She’s not doing it, thinks she might need it, and wants my take on the subject. I explain why it’s probably better to get your iron from food, rather than supplements – which may do more harm than good.
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