Is that multivitamin you’re taking slowly killing you? The question might seem absurd, but after reading Randolph Howes’s disturbing expose, you’ll think twice before popping another antioxidant pill into your mouth.
In the world of health, Free Radical Theory goes virtually unchallenged. The idea that reactive forms of oxygen created during the normal course of metabolism help cause disease has been dogma for over 50 years. Yet the evidence for this sacred cow of conventional wisdom not only fails to support the theory, it points to a scenario far more sinister.
Citing over 180 peer-reviewed studies, Howes provides copious evidence that taking antioxidants (the “good guys” of Free Radical Theory) is either ineffective or, more alarmingly, harmful. In fact, results of the studies reveal increased risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and death by any cause—the very things antioxidants are supposed to prevent.
While Howes’s book does not go into the history of Free Radical Theory, it’s worth noting that its developer, Denham Harman, did not base the theory on human physiological studies but rather on the effects of exposing mice to highly unnatural nuclear radiation. He then misguidedly extrapolated his findings to the normal physiology of the human body to create Free Radical Theory.
Harman’s unfounded leap quickly became a red herring that has led health research down the wrong path for two generations and created a multi-billion dollar industry dependent on sales of antioxidants. Yet even as study after study shows synthetic antioxidants to be potentially lethal, the industry bulldozes ahead without regard for the health of consumers.
The reason antioxidants are dangerous, Howes points out, is that our body’s normal functioning depends on free radicals, which are naturally produced during metabolism. Rather than a scourge to the body, these reactive substances are weapons used for various functions such as destroying invading germs and killing potentially cancerous cells.
While the validity of Howes’s alternative hypothesis to Free Radical Theory is questionable, the author’s dismantling of this bogus idea is essential reading for everyone taking antioxidant supplements—over half the American population at last count.