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From: (Steve Harris
Subject: Re: This negative aricle about Antioxidants appeared in the Lancet
Date: 24 Oct 2004 13:47:31 -0700
Message-ID: <> (peterb) wrote in message
> Peter H Proctor <> wrote in message
> news:<>...
> > On 20 Oct 2004 06:10:20 GMT, Eric Bohlman <> wrote:
> >
> > >Peter H Proctor
> > >> Paracelcus: " Everything is poison and there is poison in everything.
> > >> It is the dose that makes a thing a poison."
> > >
> > >Someone once said "the difference between a nutrient, a drug, and a poison
> > >is merely the dosage."
> >
> > "The dose makes the poison" is a fundamental concept underlyng toxicology...
> But ridiculously outdated.  Paracelcus lived prior to the introduction
> of man-made chemicals, which are treated as poisons biochemically
> regardless of the dose; this is a fundamental difference between them
> and micronutrients to which humans have evolved a beneficial metabolic
> response; nor do they provide a health-positive benefit with long-term
> exposure (and a comparatively small overall benefit in crisis medical
> care with *short*-term exposure.)  Everything is poison in *some*
> measure; but some things are poison in *ANY* measure.


Don't tell the homeopaths.

I have no idea what you mean by "treated as poisons." Some things that
damage the body are metabolized, and others are outright ignored.
There is no single thing the body does with all "poisons"-- and indeed
one thing that is done, is nothing. The body doesn't do much with
aluminum, for example. But you eat it all the time, because it's a
major component of dirt and dust. Is it toxic? Not particularly in
that form, anyway.

The body has evolutinary mechanisms for specially recognizing
necessary nutrients (vitamins, minerals, essential fatty and amino
acids etc) to be sure, but necessary nutrients are only a tiny
fraction of what we eat. For most of the rest of the molecules it
deals with, the body has no particular program. If you eat a
kiwifruit, you're going to be dealing with a few chemicals your body
has no evolutionary experience with, unless you're an Australian
native, maybe. For that matter, the same goes for a potato, unless
your ancestors are from Southern south America. The Irish and Germans
haven't been eating potatos long enough to make any difference,
evolution-wise. Indeed, potato skins (especially eyes and sprouts)
contain the narcotic alkaloid solanine, which in large enough doses is
a toxin. The dose makes the difference.

Plants are full of nasty things. Bruce Ames makes the point that a
third of the chemicals known from cabbage are poisons or mutagens in
quantity. Indeed, that's the whole point of herbology-- you're eating
parts of the plants that the plant doesn't really want eaten (like the
root in potato), and so has probably filled with one sort of mild
toxin or another (think of garlic, onion, turmeric, etc). And in small
quantities, some of these are medicinal. That's the nature of plant
toxins. Nearly anything that is specifically toxic by binding to an
active receptor, is medically useful in smaller doses, as a modulator
for the physiologic function that receptor controls.


From: (Steve Harris
Subject: Re: animal poison on plants; Plant Kingdom the dual of Animal Kingdom 
	Re:  eating one Eounymus seed
Date: 27 Oct 2004 13:15:08 -0700
Message-ID: <>

bruce.sinclair@NOSPAMagresearch.NOTco.NOTnz (Bruce Sinclair) wrote in
message news:<3dEfd.23338$>...
> In article <>,
> wrote:
> >On Tue, 26 Oct 2004 13:18:37 -0500, Archimedes Plutonium
> ><> wrote:
> >>But if Darwin Evolution theory was correct then the plant kingdom
> >>would have created a highly toxic poison to alot of animals and the
> >>animals would have created highly toxic poisons to alot of plants.
> >
> >That is silly. Plants do not eat animals, and so animals do not need
> >poisons to defend themselves against plants.
> >
> >(There are a few exceptions to plants not eating animals. Are there
> >any poisons involved here? I don't know. Given the way these plants
> >work, I doubt it. But this would be the place to look. Can any animal
> >that is trapped by a carnivorous plant kill/inhibit it and escape?)
> I suspect there are many more examples of plant/animal cooperation than of
> one "trying" to kill the other. :)


Of course. Indeed you only find plants trying to poison animals eating
the wrong parts of them, like roots, stems, leaves. Which is why
herbals medicines come from those things-- herbals are dilute plant
poisons, as are many medicines, at base. The difference between herbs
and spices is which part of the plant they come from-- spices are from
parts the plants are more willing to give up, and thus are generally
less toxic.

Nor is it a coincidence that most medicinal plants come from tropical
climates. In temperature climates, plants get rest from insects when
winter kills them off, and they don't come back in numbers to do
damage until later in the growing season. So some plants get along
without much insect poison at all. In the tropics, it's chemical
warfare ALL the time.

Plants will discourage eating of fruits generally only if at the wrong
time, by making them toxic or at least sour. It's pretty rare you find
toxic fruits, and even then the plant is trying to discourage animals
that don't carry seeds, rather than ones that do.


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