Antioxidants, compounds in foods and supplements that fight cell damage, are touted as good for your health—but they could actually up the chance of developing diabetes, at least in early stages, according to an Australian study. Led by Tony Tiganis of Monash University, the team looked at the effects of oxidative stress in mice fed a high-fat diet for 12 weeks. One group was missing an enzyme, called Gpxl, that helps fight oxidative stress. Those that lacked the enzyme were less likely to develop insulin resistance, an early sign of diabetes; when treated with an antioxidant, though, they became more “diabetic,” Tiganis told Reuters in an email. Oxidative stress might not be just damaging the body, but also inhibiting enzymes that hurt the body’s ability to use insulin in the early stages of diabetes, suggesting that antioxidants remove this protective mechanism, the news agency reports. While more studies are needed, “In the case of early type 2 diabetes … our studies suggest that antioxidants would be bad for you,” Tiganis said in a statement.
Antioxidants increase diabetes risk
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