In recent years antioxidant research has increased in
intensity from varied areas and disciplines within the medical
community. Overwhelming evidence has accumulated showing that
antioxidants may prevent oxidative damage and thus protect against the
adverse effects of oxidants.
The process of oxidation in the human body damages cell
membranes and other structures. When oxygen is metabolized, it creates
"free Radicals" which steal electrons from other molecules causing
damage to cell membranes. As a whole our bodies are constantly
producing these free radicals as a normal process of metabolism and our
bodies need free radicals in limited quantities to function properly.
However when we experience stressful situations, smoke, drink alcohol,
play in the sun, live in polluted areas and many other factors - we
accelerate the oxidation process which increases the amount of free
radicals in our bodies.
Without antioxidants free radicals can cause extensive
cell damage and contribute to a whole list of chronic diseases
including but not limited to chronic degenerative diseases, ranging
from stroke and fibromyalgia, to sinusitis, arthritis, vision problems,
Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and cancer.
In a normal healthy, younger, well nourished and
non-stressed people antioxidants are naturally and normally in
abundance through out the body, but as a person grows older or when
people on high fat, high carbohydrate diets or are ill, our bodies
ability to manufacture antioxidants diminishes.
Aging has typically been thought of as an unstoppable
force of nature and we just have to go along for the ride and to a
degree this is true. Although we do have some power over how we age, as
we age, the levels of antioxidants in our bodies and our bodies ability
to manufacture its own antioxidants diminishes. Not to mention the
types of fast foods, pollutants and bad habits we expose ourselves to
that use up our already limited supply of antioxidants.
The consumption of additional antioxidants, plus living
a healthy lifestyle can slow our aging and lessen the severity of age
related diseases, but more importantly reverse some conditions caused
by free radical damage.
A Common term used by many researchers is that
antioxidants "mop up" or "Scavenge" free radicals, as mentioned
earlier, free radicals are molecules that have been oxidized and in the
oxidation process an oxygen molecule steals and electron from some
other molecule and since our bodies are constantly attempting to reach
a neutral state, when one molecule steals and electron then the next
molecule does the same, this process can cascade out of control and
does considerable damage and can even damage cells right down to the
By mopping up or scavenging free radicals antioxidants
through out the body giving up electrons to free radicals without
themselves becoming free radicals and rendering these oxidized
The best place to start is with your diet and best food
sources include fruits, veggies and whole grains. Remember that old
saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away". Here are some good
examples sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, cantaloupe, mangoes,
tomatoes and pineapples.
For many eating more is not an option because of time
constraints, weight control or mayb you don't like veggies... etc. and
this is where supplements come into play, so below I have listed
several very potent natural antioxidants.
Beta - Carotene
Protects mucous membranes of the mouth, nose throat
and lungs. It also helps protect Vitamin C from oxidation, which allows
your C to work better.
Fights bacterial infections and reduces the effect of
allergy producing substances. It also protects Vitamin A, Vitamin E and
some of the B Complex Vitamins from oxidation.
Protects B Vitamins and Vitamin C from oxidation. It
has the ability to unit with oxygen and prevent it from being converted
into toxic peroxides. It acts as an anti-pollutant for the lungs.
Vitamin E also has been shown as a significant protective factor (along
with the other antioxidants) against Ischemic heart disease.
and Vitamin E
Both must be present to correct a deficiency in either
one. The levels of both selenium and Vitamin E in the blood of people
in various cities has been found to bear a direct relationship to
cancer and ischemic heart disease mortality. The higher the levels, The
lower the death rate and vice versa.
Has been found to be significantly more effective than
Vitamin E and Vitamin C as a free radical scavenger. Pycnogenol is
helpful in reducing free radical damage shown to lead to such diseases
as cancer, heart disease, arthritis and accelerated aging among others.
Alternative medicine physicians are now recommending
this supplement to their patients with chronic infections, such as
Candida Albicans, Epstein-Barr Virus, Herpes and even HIV.
Is included in many herbal formulas designed to
relieve rheumatoid arthritis.
This is a prized tonic herb that aids in slowing the
aging process, Cordyceps can raise levels of the bodies own natural
antioxidants and athletes and bodybuilders use it to improve endurance.
Green Tea also
known as Chinese Tea,
Is rich in polyphenols which stimulates the production
of important antioxidants and detoxifying enzymes in the body some
studies show green tea polyphenols to have a stronger antioxidant
action than Vitamin C and Vitamin E combined.
or Red Bush Tea (The herbal alternative to Green Tea)
Two particularly potent flavonoids, quercetin and
luteolin, rooibos also contains phenolic acids, antioxidants also found
in fruits, vegetables and whole grain.
Refereed to by many as the universal antioxidant it
plays a unique role in aiding the body in defense against free radical
Is an antioxidant that may aid in deactivating
dangerous free radicals in the body caused by harmful ultra violet
rays, thereby protecting the eyes from oxidative damage.