Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Antioxidant Myth

We are all familiar with the antioxidant story. We develop all kinds of diseases because we don’t get enough antioxidants. Those evil particles called free radicals cause us to age and become diseased. However, by taking antioxidant supplements we can kill the free radicals and not get sick. In fact, we can even cure our disease with these miracle pills. We are also told that vitamins are antioxidants. For example, Vitamin C and Vitamin E are often mentioned in this manner.

Well, what if this wasn’t quite true? As you probably guessed, since I’m writing about this topic – it isn’t! It is another nutrition myth that has become ingrained in our thinking. If you think about it oxygen is probably the most important nutrient on the planet. Without it there is no life! Why would we want to consume something that is anti-oxygen? If I have three people and one will get no food, one no water, and one no air for the next day which one do you not want to be? Yes, the answer is rather obvious.

Our story begins in 1954 with Dr. Denham Harman and his free radical theory of aging. He was conducting research on the effects of free radicals produced by radiation. He concluded that these free radicals accelerated cell death (aging) which contributed to cancer, heart disease, and a host of other diseases. Further experiments in test tubes showed that antioxidants, such as Vitamin E (alpha tocopherol) and Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), could slow down this aging process.

However, this is where the story goes off course. We must understand that even though the government allows you to say so, alpha tocopherol is not Vitamin E and ascorbic acid is not Vitamin C. Alpha tocopherol and ascorbic acid are fractions of the full vitamin complex as they appear in nature. They are produced in laboratories. Without going into all the details here I’ll make this simple. We all know that scurvy is a Vitamin C deficiency. The British sailors used lemons and limes to prevent scurvy. Well, guess what happens if you give ascorbic acid to someone with scurvy? They will die. They need the full Vitamin C complex as it is in nature, not the fractionated part made in a lab. The tocopherols and ascorbic acid are actually a preservative whose role in nature is to protect the complete vitamin complex.

To repeat, real vitamins are complexes found in nature in real food (animal and plant). Synthetic vitamins act as preservatives. This has nothing to do with a nutrient.

So what then is the purpose of the free radical? It is designed to fight an infection. Free radicals do not damage tissues, infection does. Free radicals are designed to kill bacteria and fungi, not human tissue. In fact, the body is producing free radicals to protect itself.

Many researchers have attempted to show the benefits of antioxidants and have discovered the exact opposite results. In specific studies:

1. Antioxidants did not prevent gastrointestinal cancers and increased overall mortality.

2. High dosage synthetic Vitamin E supplementation increased all cause mortality.

3. Long term synthetic Vitamin E supplementation did not prevent cancer or heart disease and increased the risk of heart failure.

4. Use of beta carotene (synthetic Vitamin A) increased stroke risk by 62%.

5. Use of alpha tocopherol (synthetic Vitamin E) increased risk of cerebral infarction by 113%.

6. Use of alpha tocopherol increased risk of head and neck cancers.

Why these results? Because in real life these antioxidants (these isolated fractions from vitamins produced synthetically in laboratories) are oxygen inhibitors and we need oxygen for life!

You may say that you’ve used antioxidant supplements and they make you feel better. Well, that may be true for a short period of time. Antioxidants drive oxygen from the blood to the tissues. In the short term this benefits the tissue, but in the long term is creates a shortage of oxygen in the blood. This is why the above results were found in long term studies.

Hopefully I’ve done this justice. Special thanks to Mark Anderson from Standard Process West for communicating this information.

Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. His office is in Mequon, WI. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at, call (262) 389-9907 or go to

April 2013 Newsletter – Not April Fool’s

This Is Not An April Fool’s

With each monthly newsletter I like to have a central theme. Earlier this month I was discussing my upcoming nutrition workshop scheduled for late June (at Sangha Yoga in Kalamazoo, MI) with my wonderful host Karina Mirsky. As I explained the outline she said something like, “Can you talk about The China Study or Superfoods or antioxidants? You know, all that stuff that is in the news and everyone is talking about.” I usually touch on these topics indirectly, but don’t necessarily feature them. And, I do get asked frequently about those subjects along with my other favorite the acid alkaline issue. At that point I was inspired. I realized I should have articles about those topics. So I got busy and began to write some articles that I could post on my blog, use as the basis for discussion at the workshop, and share with you over the next several months.

Back to this month’s theme. I was going to call it “Questions I’m Frequently Asked.” But, then I realized I would send this out April 1. And then it hit me. These topics are the “April’s Fools” of nutrition. They sound real good until you delve in a little deeper. Then you realize you have been tricked and your wallet has been lightened!

It also got me wondering about the actual origins of April’s Fools Day. Guess what – naturally no one knows for sure. The Internet research I did came back to the same stories. This seemed to be the best one:

For a full list of my upcoming workshops click here:

What Did The China Study Really Study?

One of the most frequent questions I get as a nutrition consultant is, “What do you think of The China Study?” For those of you unfamiliar with it, this is a book written by T. Colin Campbell, PhD in 2006 which encourages a vegan diet (no animal sourced food) and inspired the recent documentary Forks Over Knives. The premise of the book and the movie is that all animal foods are dangerous and are the underlying cause of today’s leading killers – heart disease and cancer. It is further claimed that these can be prevented or even cured by avoiding all animal products and eating a diet consisting of only whole, unprocessed plant foods.

The China Study quickly became the “Bible” of the vegan and vegetarian communities. It was the undisputed proof that meat was bad and plant-only was good. While the book contains many well-referenced arguments, upon closer inspection it becomes clear that many of the claims result from selecting and manipulating the data that fits the hypothesis, rather than an unbiased analysis of all the information collected.

For the rest of the story click here:

Nutritional Risks for Vegetarians

As I have written before there are many theories about what makes a proper human diet. And, what makes it more confusing is that you can always find a study to support each theory (such as The China Study). One of the main arguments is whether or not humans should eat meat. From my personal experience and that of my clients I believe that we should. Yet at the same time I believe that a vegan or vegetarian or plant based diet can be very good for someone for a particular period of time. It can be healing.

However, there are possible nutrient deficiencies that may occur in some vegetarians from not eating sufficient animal product. The purpose of this article is to present that information.

For the full article click here:

Spring is Here – Time to Cleanse?

Yes, it appears that Spring is finally here! With that comes Spring cleaning. This is one of the most popular times to do the Standard Process 21 Day Purification Program. I know I’ll be doing it later this month beginning April 22. If you’d like to join me, or get a head start, let me know as I have a special offer – $25 off for a first time cleanse and $15 off for my experienced cleansers!

For more information on the program click here: