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Paradoxical Paradigms

Paradoxical Paradigms

Our sense of smell is very complex and dependent on a variety of factors, just as the ability of the body to utilize vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants is dependent on each individual’s own chemical makeup. Numerous companies now have various methods of measuring total antioxidant capacity for a variety of individual and specific antioxidant agents, such as isoprostanes and vitamins C and E. There are paradigms for taking more than the recommended daily values of supplements, such as taking extra antioxidants for antiaging, based on topical literature. There is no known recommended daily value for supplementation with single entity or broad-spectrum antioxidants for antiaging.

The health paradigm of increasing antioxidant supplementation in order to promote wellness, prevent disease, and enhance antiaging remains controversial because, to date, it is not characterized well (Berger, 2005). There are studies correlating old age and dietary habits in certain populations of the world, but there are no long-term studies on supplementation as we know it. Many studies suggest that supplementation with antioxidants has great benefits; relatively few studies suggest the opposite. The studies suggesting paradoxical effects of antioxidants have not been repeated to clarify the significance of the findings. These paradoxical findings may in part be due to each individual’s particular chemical makeup, such as baseline ORAC value resulting from prior experience with vitamins, as well as the quality and quantity of supplement variability.

For example, perhaps the choice of single entity synthetic vitamin E designated as the antioxidant utilized in the materials and methods of the studies caused the negative outcome, rather than having utilized broad-spectrum antioxidants from natural sourced vitamins. There are eight vitamin E substances found with stereoisomer activity: and tocopherol; and , and -tocotrienol (Chandan, 2006). Evidence supports that members of the vitamin E family are functionally unique in terms of antioxidant capacity, membrane functionality, placental transfer, and cholesterol metabolism, which should caution researchers against empirical claims concluding that vitamin E supplementation may increase “all-cause” mortality.

The 2008 budget for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is just under $29.5 billion. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is part of the NIH. The budget for NCCAM is about $121.6 million for research studies and other activities. The current studies provide much more data showing that short-term usage of supplements does alter the natural course of many acute and chronic diseases in a positive manner. We can extrapolate from certain studies that much benefit could be gained by the proper dietary intake of functional foods, supplemented with a broad spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and trace elements that generate high antioxidant values.


The effects of using antioxidants concurrent with chemotherapy and radiation are described by various camps as either synergistic or antagonistic to certain cancer therapies (Gordaliza, 2007). Oncologists are concerned because some cancer chemotherapeutic agents they prescribe make free radicals designed to lead to the death of the cancer cell. Free radicals are inactivated by antioxidants, making some forms of chemotherapy less effective.

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