6 Surprising Myths About Antioxidants

Many people believe that antioxidants are some kind of panacea. They’re said to cure cancer, supercharge the immune system, prevent aging, and much more. How much of this is true?

The global market for antioxidants is projected to reach 3.11 billion dollars by 2020. With such a huge market, many people will peddle lies about antioxidants to make a quick buck.

Antioxidants have become popular, because they’re said to neutralize free radicals, which damage our cells and increase the risk of aging, cancer and chronic diseases. While this is true, this simple explanation has birthed many myths that could harm your health.

These are the most common antioxidant myths you shouldn’t fall for.

6 Surprising Myths About Antioxidants

Myth #1: Antioxidants in test tubes work the same way in the human body.

Most of the antioxidant benefits we know are based on test tube studies. Unfortunately, antioxidants don’t seem to have the same effect on our bodies as they do in test tubes, research shows.

Most antioxidants have poor bioavailability, which means our bodies only absorb small amounts. For this reason, you may not enjoy many of the benefits we see in test tube studies.

Myth #2: The more antioxidants you take the better.

It is possible to overdo it with antioxidants. This mostly applies to people who take antioxidant supplements. Research shows that high doses of antioxidant supplements, such as beta-carotene and vitamin E, may increase the risk of lung cancer.

Supplements offer concentrated vitamin doses that lack the other beneficial components found in unprocessed foods.

Myth #3: All free radicals must be destroyed.

Many of us assume that all free radicals are bad because they increase the risk of cancer, dementia and heart disease. But our bodies actually need free radicals.

For instance, our immune cells use free radicals to kill invading bacteria in our bodies. Too many free radicals, however, harm our cells and increase the risk of diseases.

Myth #4: Food products with antioxidants are healthier.

Do you usually go through food labels at the grocery store looking for antioxidants? These foods may not be healthier than those that lack antioxidants.

Manufacturers usually make these claims based on a food’s ability to neutralize free radicals in test tubes. But as we saw earlier, antioxidants behave differently in the human body.

It’s for this reason that the USDA shut down its public database for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC), explaining that “evidence that the values indicating antioxidant capacity have no relevance to the effects of specific bioactive compounds…on human health.”

Myth #5: You have to take antioxidant supplements.

Many people spend their hard-earned cash on antioxidant supplements that have little to no effect on their health. What’s worse is that some antioxidants can have side effects when you take them in supplement form.

You’re better off getting your antioxidants from fruits, veggies, teas, beans, nuts and seeds. But feel free to continue taking a supplement if it’s improving your health and doesn’t have side effects.

Myth #6: Antioxidants treat cancer.

Antioxidants may help lower your risk of cancer but they may not do much for people who already have cancer. In fact, one study found that antioxidant supplements may actually cause cancer to spread more quickly.

Have you fallen for any of these antioxidant myths?


Kathy K
Kathy Kabout a month ago


Caitlin L
Past Member about a month ago

thank you

Hannah A
Hannah Aabout a month ago


Angela K
Angela Kabout a month ago

Thanks for sharing

Michael Friedmann
Michael Fabout a month ago

Thank You for Sharing This !!!

Paulo R
Paulo Rabout a month ago


Leo C
Leo Cabout a month ago

Thank you for sharing!

Mike R
Mike Rabout a month ago


Danuta W
Danuta Wabout a month ago

Thank you for sharing.

heather g
heather gabout a month ago

We read so many differing views, we simply get confused.