State of Science :: Antioxidants
Something Else Going On : The Health Benefits from Antioxidants in Produce Prove Superior to Benefits from Supplements
An important Danish study has provided intriguing evidence that there is "something going on" when people consume whole foods in contrast to dietary supplements in terms of promoting good health. Several teams are working on understanding the mechanisms through which the polyphenol antioxidants in produce promote health.
The Danish researchers studied the antioxidant impacts of diets rich in fruits and vegetables. The team exercised complete control over the diets of 43 test subjects for 25 days. One group consumed no fruits and vegetables and was given a placebo pill; the second group ate six servings a day (600 grams) of fruits and vegetables; and, the third group received a pill containing the vitamins and minerals corresponding to 600 grams of fruits and vegetables. The results were clear-cut - "Fruits and vegetables increase erythrocyte glutathione peroxidase activity and resistance to plasma lipoproteins to oxidation more efficiently than do the vitamins and minerals that fruit and vegetables are known to contain." There must be, in short, "something else going on" when people consume fruits and vegetables and that "something else" may hold the key to understanding how farming system and dietary changes might promote improved health.
Source: "The 6-a-day study: effects of fruit and vegetables on markers of oxidative stress and antioxidant defense in healthy nonsmokers"
Authors: Lars Dragsted, Anette Pedersen, Albin Hermetter, Samar Basu, Max Hansen, Gitte Haren, Morten Kall, Vibeke Breinholt, Jacquelin Castenmiller, Jan Stagsted, Jette Jakobsen, Leif Skibsted, Salka Rasmussen, Steffen Loft, and Brittmarie Sandstrom
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 2004 (Vol. 79, No. 6)