Before continuing, I want to remind my readers that it is now pomegranate season, and I hope you are going to get your share. The good news about the benefits of pomegranates continues to grow. The latest is that pomegranates contain a substance called punicalagin that bacteria in your gut convert into a substance called utolithin A, which improves and repairs mitochondrial function. It makes your body repair mitorchondria and make new mitochondria, which means more energy for you. I know pomegranates are rather pricey, but try to include some in your diet. It’s worth it.

Now, moving on, next Dr. Saladino referred to a study which denied that there were any measurable antioxidant and immunological benefits in subjects eating a high amount of vegetables.  But, right below it on PubMed, there was another article entitled:

Fruit and vegetable consumption and its relation to markers of inflammation and oxidative stress in adolescents

Background: Fruits and vegetables, foods rich in flavonoids and antioxidants, have been associated with lower risk of stroke, coronary heart disease, and markers of inflammation and oxidative stress in adults. Markers of inflammation and oxidative stress are predictors of coronary heart disease risk; however, it is unknown whether these markers are related to dietary flavonoid and antioxidant intake in youth.

Objective: To determine whether greater intakes of fruit and vegetables, antioxidants, folate, and total flavonoids were inversely associated with markers of inflammation and oxidative stress in 285 adolescent boys and girls aged 13 to 17 years.

Design: In this cross-sectional study conducted between February 1996 and January 2000, diet was assessed by a 127-item food frequency questionnaire. Height and weight measurements were obtained and a fasting blood sample drawn. Spearman partial correlation analyses evaluated the relation of intakes of fruit and vegetables, antioxidants, folate, and flavonoids with markers of inflammation (C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and 15-keto-dihydro-PGF(2alpha) metabolite and oxidative stress (urinary 8-iso prostaglandin F(2alpha), an F(2)-isoprostane), adjusting for age, sex, race, Tanner stage, energy intake, and body mass index.

Results: Urinary F(2)-isoprostane was inversely correlated with intakes of total fruit and vegetables, vitamin C, beta carotene, and flavonoids. Serum C-reactive protein was significantly inversely associated with intakes of fruit (r=-0.19; P=0.004), vitamin C (r=-0.13, P=0.03), and folate (r=-0.18; P=0.004). Serum interleukin-6 was inversely associated with intakes of legumes, vegetables, beta carotene, and vitamin C. Serum tumor necrosis factor-alpha was inversely associated with beta carotene (r=-0.14, P=0.02) and luteolin (r=-0.15, P=0.02).

Conclusion: Study results show that the beneficial effects of fruit and vegetable intake on markers of inflammation and oxidative stress are already present by early adolescence and provide support for the Dietary Guidelines for Americans "to consume five or more servings per day" of fruits and vegetables to promote beneficial cardiovascular health.

RC: I’ll point out that the study he cited did observe that the high vegetable eaters had lower white cell counts than the low vegetable eaters, and that’s consistent with my own observations, as well as those of Dr. Roy Walford, the famous UCLA gerontologist who wrote Maximum Longevity.

At this link, you can read the abstract from the study he cited, and below it, where it says “Similar articles” you’ll see the above study plus several more that all support the benefits of eating vegetables.

Then, it gets weird. Dr. Saladino cites a Danish study out to test the antioxidant effect of green tea extract. They wanted to isolate that, so they depleted other dietary sources of antioxidants and flavinoids, hence it was presumably low in vegetables and fruits. Maybe none at all because they described it as fruit and vegetable depletion diet. But get this: the intervention diet consisted of meat patties with the GTE mixed into them. The GTE did increase plama antioxidant status from 1.35 to 1.56. But, the effect wore off, so that once the person was in a fasting state, medically speaking, say by the next morning before eating, that it went back to baseline. But, who would consider a diet of meat patties with some GTE mixed-in optimal? That’s more like what Dr. Saladino eats, except sans the GTE. Everything about this study was goofy, and it didn’t prove anything. Just because a diet of meat paddies and green tea extract didn't change oxidative status much does not disparage fruits and vegetables. 

Next, Dr. Saladino gets to hormesis, which refers to the adaptive response to stressors that results in improved performance. The classic example is exercise, which can be stressful, but your body’s adaptations to it result in you becoming stronger, faster, etc.  Dr. Saladino believes in the benefits of exercise that way, and so do I, to a point, but it’s a fine line. Running marathons no doubt has a hormeitic effect (positive adapations) but let’s not kid ourselves: it also has negative effects. It’s an extreme thing to do, and the bottom line is that it's stressful- both in a good way and a bad way. 

I think that the concept of hormeisis is itself dangerous. At the very least, it is a double-edged sword. Dr. Saladino is gung-ho about hormesis from exercise, and also from extremes of heat and cold, such as swimming in ice water, presumably. Do I approve of that? Actually, I don’t. I wouldn’t do it. So, if I wouldn’t do it, why would I recommend it? But, it’s part of Dr. Saladino’s “radical living” program. But get this: he’s willing to subject his body to that kind of stress, swimming in super-cold water, but he’s unwilling to subject his body to the “stress” of eating an apple. It was I who picked that example, but I could have said any fruit or vegetable since he doesn’t eat any of them.

He also likes extreme heat, so I guess that means a hike in Death Valley on a summer afternoon is good. So, he’d do the hike in 120 degree temperature, but if if he was offered some cold watermelon at the end of it, that he would turn down because it’s too stressful. That is some weird thinking. 

He pointed out that smoking has been shown to raise glutathione levels as do the polycyclic hydrocarbons from meat, but surely he is not advocating smoking on that basis, is he? Holy Mother of God.

I really think he’s got it exactly wrong. Yes, extremes of exercise can have positive adaptations, but it can also have “collatarlly damaging side effects.” Dr. Saladino needs to read The Exercise Myth by Dr. Henry Solomon, and everyone should because it's a good read.

I think you should be kind to your body- all the time. Yes, you should exercise, but not to the point of harming yourself. Dr. Solomon isn’t opposed to exercise either- just to the extremes of it. And I think he’s right.

Dr. Saladino wants the stress of extreme exercise, but he’s scared shitless of eating a peach. That is some weird, wacky, wild stuff.