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080: Can you explain plant polyphenols and hormesis?

Masterjohn Q&A Files Episode 80


In brief, our detoxification system didn't evolve to handle the toxins of modern society. Modern society invents a new chemical. Our body knows it's a toxin, but it doesn't know it because we were exposed to it for millions of years. It knows it because it has similarity to other toxins. That similarity may be weaker or stronger depending on the toxin.

Now, in the modern society, what do we do? We invented new toxins. By the way, the fruit and vegetable polyphenols, what happens if you just take a bunch of them and you dump them on cells? You kill the cells. What happens when we eat them? Ninety-nine percent of them don't get absorbed. Why? Because the intestinal cells have a detoxification pathway that's just like the liver's.

I think where you cross the line is, what you don't want to do is isolate those things into a pill and megadose them. That's why people, when they ask me about sulforaphane and milk thistle, my view of that is that that's what you do when you can't eat a high volume of unrefined plant foods with five to nine fruits and vegetables. But what you don't want to do is say, "Well, if the bottle says one capsule milk thistle a day is good for me, then ten capsules of milk thistle on top of ten servings of fruits and vegetables is good for me." Then you're in the zone of who knows what that's doing to you.

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The Masterjohn Q&A Files
We use Zoom, a video chatting software, in webinar mode. You can ask your question anonymously in text, but you can also ask it publicly, and you can even get "on stage" and share your mic, web cam, or screen with everyone.
Chris Masterjohn, PhD