Storing things you want is good for you. Becoming obsessed with keeping things isn’t. Same with vitamins!
Now I hope you will forgive me if that headline above seems more confusing than most of my headlines (if that is possible) but please allow me a couple of moments to explain.
I run a storage facility and over the years I have tried (among other things) to convey the notion that storage is not just a case of putting things that you don’t have room for, somewhere else.
Storage of the type my company offers has a multiplicity of purposes ranging from keeping original copies of manuscripts as a security against someone else copying your work, to keeping old photographs in an environment that is a lot more conducive to preservation than the average attic.
But, of course, for a tiny minority it can become an issue in itself. Storing thus is good; too much storing is not so good.
It was that thought that reminded me of a couple of articles I recently wrote here on the topic of popular misconceptions relating to staying healthy.
You might recall (if you are a regular reader) that I questioned the notion about drinking a gallon of water a day, the notion that sugar makes children hyper, and that the occasional detox is good for staying healthy.
All of these have been advocated as medically sound when at best the evidence suggests that they are irrelevant and at worst can lead to all sorts of secondary issues.
At the time I thought that was enough about health, and that it was now time to go onto other topics, but one reader recently reminded me of another great health myth which was actually propagated by a Nobel prize winning chemist without any evidence at all.
This story surrounds antioxidant pills, which are supposed to make people live longer.
Now let me confess from the start that I have a great interest in people living longer, not just because I am a nice guy, and actually don’t go around hoping that people will pass away, but also because some of my clients are of the older variety. I don’t want to lose them either as friends or as customers.
And so it was when I saw one of my valued customers, not yet properly within the classification of being “older”, taking some antioxidant pills with his coffee. I asked him what they did.
He explained that the food we eat is self-evidently broken down and used by the body to help us stay alive and well. But as a by-product some nasty items (apparently called free radicals, although I don’t know why) are released into our systems. They build up in our bodies and cause all sorts of nasty effects.
But there is a way out – eating vegetables seems to reduce the risk of getting the diseases, so by and large most people who started reading this who have had the occasional carrot will survive long enough to get to the end.
Then Linus Pauling, the Nobel prize winner, said that if antioxidants are good, it must be a good idea for us to swallow pills full of antioxidants. Especially if we don’t like veg.
It was 20 years before the results of proper studies of this idea came in, and they found that not only did these pills have no benefit at all, but on the contrary, they also increased mortality. In short quite a few of the people who were taking these pills every day, died younger than might otherwise have been expected.
The reason seems to be our defence against free radicals has nothing to do with vegetables as such. But rather it is the free radicals themselves which tell the body to build up our own defences. When the body has its free radicals removed by taking antioxidant pills this mechanism is switched off and the body stops building up defences against poisons.
Worse, since there are poisons in tiny levels within all natural products (vegetables seem to be a particular source) the body needs a solid, working anti-poison agent to keep mopping the nasty bits up. But for people taking antioxidants, the mechanism for building up our own defences has been permanently removed.
All of which tells us that sudden fads, even if backed up by a Nobel Prize winner, may not always necessarily be the right thing to follow.
On the other hand, storing things for a good reason is not a sudden fad, and therefore is clearly good for you.
Admiral Document Storage
Tel: 0800 810 1125