Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
11 Apr

Essential Arrogance

Last month, the Bees posted a news bite about the amazing new “chocolate vitamin“, epicatechin, which has the very startling potential of addressing 4 out of 5 of the significant public health issues we face today. That’s huge. As you’d expect, researchers are hopping all over this like chaos theory circa 1970. As you’d expect, the major media would rather delve infinitely deeper into the Anna Nicole Smith saga than investigate things like the elimination of every major current health problem facing Western humanity.

Thank goodness for rational, objective journalistic media. It’s horrifying to think where would we be with all these amateur, biased bloggers who are certainly incapable of rational enquiry into serious matters.

You’ll have to pardon my sarcasm. If I were a better man I’d rise to the level of mere sardonic wit, but I’m feeling pretty angry about the presumption, ignorance and – most of all – arrogance that are parading around society with all the dazzle and spice of a trio-appetizer sampler from [insert chain restaurant of choice here]. Like the samplers, this attitude is toxic and full of…well, you know.

I bring up arrogance because of a paragraph in the above news bite that discusses the possibility that epicatechin may in fact be an essential vitamin for human existence. Miss this vit, and major health problems ensue. It’s a good hypothesis. It may get thrown out, as most new scientific hypotheses do, but so far, it’s very compelling. At any rate, it highlights the trouble with arrogance. Mainstream medicine and the government have been quick to discount any new discovery that might challenge the holy grail of “13 essential vitamins and minerals”. I wish that I had the luxury of simply being baffled by this persistent intransigence, but human lives are truly at stake. Who determines essential? Why should we be so arrogant as to assume that we know all there is to know about nutrition? If we really only need 13 “essential” vitamins, or, if the modern diet really is supplying all our nutritional needs, where’s the glowing good health to reflect this bedrock assertion?

Epicatechin is simply the latest – and possibly greatest – discovery to make things a little uncomfortable for those who have an investment in the status quo. By no means do I think we ought to welcome every new “wonder drug” or “miracle nutrient” with open arms. We ought to be skeptical. But there’s a terrific difference between healthy scientific skepticism and essential arrogance.

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