Antioxidants - Worthwhile?


Just curious for those who are in-the-know: How much actual research has been done in the importance of antioxidants? Are they essential nutrients? Are they really all that beneficial? Also, will Soylent have antioxidants?


I haven’t done a ton of research into it, but I did find a couple of studies that showed that antioxidants could be bad for you.

It all depends on your diet whether you need to add them or not, but there are a lot of people that are intaking too many antioxidants and are having adverse side effects cough cancer cough.
If I run across those studies again, I will post them. But of course everything in excess is bad for you.


Spend some time learning what an antioxidant is. Vitamin C is an antioxidant. If you don’t get any, you’ll die of scurvy. On the other hand, almost anything you put in your body has an unsafe UL. If you put too much antioxidants in your body, it can contribute to the formation of free radicals that can damage you.

I think when you start to research it, you’ll be better able to make informed decisions, rather than the crowd who spends fortunes on Acai juice because it’s “loaded with antioxidants!”


A lot of research has been done on antioxidants, and most people now think that consuming or supplementing with excessive anti-oxidants provides no benefits. There are specific anti-oxidants that are essential, such as vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium. But you really shouldn’t be taking much more than the RDA of these.

Also, there are other anti-oxidants such as carotenoids like beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lycopene, lutein, etc, that seem to be beneficial. These are not essential (though some of them can serve as a vitamin A source), but some consumption of them is recommended. There is a lot research showing a correlation between consumption of carotenoid rich fruits and vegetables and decrease in risk of various diseases. The Institute of Medicine recommends getting 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, which should provide about 3-6 mg of carotenoids (; p 213). That being said, it is also recommended not to take excessive supplemental doses of carotenoids. Those 25,000 iu beta carotene pills you see are probably excessive (25,000 = 15 mg of beta-carotene).

I’d also recommend checking out David McCandless’ “Snake Oil” graphic on supplements: It shows the strength of evidence of the effectiveness of numerous supplements for treating numerous ailments.


If you eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables, you can’t really avoid getting several times the RDA of vitamin C. A red pepper alone would put you over.


A very useful idea but how complete and comprehensive is it? One would need to update it on a weekly basis considering all the discoveries that happen all the time.


These kind of antioxidants would need to be in Soylent for it to be good for long term use.

e.g. at the bottom alpha carotene, beta carotene, cryptoxanthin, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer by 48%


Antioxidants are only beneficial if taken in a complex mixture (e.g., plant-extract). Single isolated antioxidants have consistently shown to produce “antioxidant stress” (e.g., oxidative stress). This has been found with isolated alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene, ascorbic acid, etc. The basic idea here is that single isolated antioxidants cripple the antioxidant network.

Prooxidant actions of carotenoids in biologic systems
Palozza P
Nutr. Rev., 1998

Erythrocyte vitamin E and plasma ascorbate concentrations in relation to erythrocyte peroxidation in smokers and nonsmokers: dose response to vitamin E supplementation
Brown KM, Morrice PC, Duthie GG
Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 1997

The neglected significance of "antioxidative stress"
Poljsak B, Milisav I
Oxid. Med. Cell. Longev., 2012