Tannins: Super Healers or Toxic Anti Nutrients?
Tannins are not anti nutrients but a form of vitamin P for the phenol subcategory flavonoids.
Numerous nutrients can be come toxic and accumulate in the body when not matched and bounded to the correct cofactors for utilization by cells: calcium, iron, copper, etc.
Tannins as flavonoids are designed to work with vitamin C, so a deficiency of C relative to intake of tannins could create a problem with tannins that bind with many other things, rather than accumulate in isolated forms like iron, calcium, and copper, with the toxic affect stemming from the positive charge making them free radicals, as with copper and iron.
Tannin sensitivities and “toxicity” is known to be remedied with vitamin C foods like lemon to “neutralize” tannins.
Example from the web: “Add a little lemon juice to your tea and it neutralizes the tannins.”
That is actually an inaccurate statement: Tannins are not toxins or antinutrients to be neutralized, but nutrients to be utilized with cofactors that work together.
This is what makes the tannins of Pycnogenol (from pine bark) the most powerful antioxidant studied by professor Lester K Packard: it’s role as a secondary antioxidant recycling vitamin C.
So if there is not enough vitamin C, the unbound tannins bind with other nutrients like minerals, enzymes, and proteins making them less utilizable and create a variety of symptoms.
It’s kind of like owning a Belgian Sheppard or malinois that is a high performance super dog so if you leave it in the house all day and night with nothing to do it can tear your house apart. The extent of the damage matches the energy the dog has to be doing constructive things like herding sheep all day, police work, etc. Belgians are tannins of the canine world.
There is also a potentially antagonistic relationship with thiamine, B1. This kind of relationship is typical of nutrients that actually work together as cofactors, but when one is much more present than the other it can create a relative deficiency. The solution is not to avoid one, but to take more of the other and both together, not separately under the assumption they cancel each other.
As with minerals:
When someone takes magnesium and it makes their heart symptoms worse, it is often because potassium is also deficient and needs to be taken first or with magnesium at matching levels. No one says, “Magnesium is bad for your heart because you have a magnesium sensitivity.” We all know magnesium is necessary, so in this case, people just don’t know what think if they don’t understand the idea off cofactors used in mineral balancing.
Potassium, sodium, and magnesium need to be balanced.
When less understood nutrients are observed as causing symptoms, it is often taken out of context and declared to be a bad thing, especially if there is a food ideology involved like people who take an orthodox stance on carnivore by looking mainly at the bad side of plants.
There is extensive science on the health benefits of tannins that is longer than the negative effects.
The research usually does not as why outcomes are sometimes positive or negative. They typically lack a theory of how nutrients work together as cofactors, not taking into account that flavonoids often work with C or how to determine the proper dose.
The vast research on benefits of tannins encompasses too many conditions to list, but I classify in 3 ways:
- Healing injuries, joints, skin, cavities, inflammation, and immune boosting.
- Killing Pathogens.
Tannin of the Canine World
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