What Are Antioxidants?

 


What are antioxidants? What are the benefits of antioxidants? Should I take an antioxidant multi vitamin? If you have questions about antioxidants like these, you are not alone.



Did you know that even the US federal government had to appoint a special panel to define dietary antioxidants?

What are Antioxidants?

The Panel on Dietary Antioxidants and Related Compounds proposed this definition: “A dietary antioxidant is a substance found in foods that significantly decreases the adverse effects of reactive oxygen species (free radicals), reactive nitrogen species (environmental pollutants) or both on normal physiological function in humans.”

To the average person, this definition may not seem very clear and the benefits of antioxidants to human beings is a matter of some debate, but the majority of the evidence that we now have indicates that many food components prevent premature aging caused by oxidative stress, protect the cells from damage caused by environmental pollutants and may prevent cancer and other life threatening diseases.

An antioxidant multi vitamin may contain numerous compounds derived primarily from plant foods. In some cases, antioxidants are the components that give fruits and vegetables their bright colors, such as resveratrol found in dark red grapes and beta-carotene, found in carrots and other orange vegetables. The body uses beta-carotene to create vitamin A and is safer than synthetic forms of vitamin A.

What are Antioxidants?

Scientists, aware of the antioxidant effects that these compounds have on the plant, have evaluated their effects on human cells as well. This is where some of the debate about the benefits of antioxidants to human health comes in, because research results vary. But, it is undisputed that people whose diet consists of a wide variety of different colored fruits and vegetables are less likely to develop cancer, heart disease and many other chronic diseases.

This is why you need to know what are antioxidants and the kinds you should be looking for in a supplement.


What are the Benefits of Antioxidants?

Let’s start with vitamin C. Without adequate intake of vitamin C, a person will eventually develop scurvy. The early symptoms include liver spots on the skin, spongy gums, nose bleeds and loose teeth. Other symptoms of vitamin C deficiency include muscular weakness, low infection resistance, slow healing, easy bruising, anemia, loss of appetite and swollen joints.

On a daily basis, vitamin C is needed by the cells of the human body to perform many functions. The body cannot store vitamin C, thus supplies are quickly depleted. During times of stress, the need for vitamin C increases and stores are depleted even more quickly. Also, during times of stress, there is an increased production of free radicals, which can eventually lead to the formation of cancer cells.

The benefits of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, include protecting the cells from damage from free radicals. Thus, many scientists believe that vitamin C can prevent certain types of cancer. In fact, it is currently being used in some countries to successfully treat cancer.

What are Antioxidants?

Briefly, here are some other benefits of antioxidants to human health. Vitamin E may help prevent heart disease by limiting the oxidation (hardening) of LDL or bad cholesterol in the arteries.

Hesperidin, found primarily in orange peel, seems to reduce the generation of free radicals and may inhibit tumor growth.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin are antioxidants that are believed to protect the eyes from the effects of oxidative stress and may prevent the formation of cataracts and the development of macular degeneration.

Rutin helps the body use vitamin C effectively, helps the body rid itself of excess cholesterol and promotes elasticity of the skin, blood vessels and arteries. These are only some of the benefits of antioxidants. Books could be written about each one and the scientific evidence supporting their importance to human health.

Resveratrol is an antioxidant found in grapevines and in red wine.

Should I take an Antioxidant multi vitamin?

It would be wonderful if we could get everything that we need for excellent health from the foods we eat. But, recent evaluation of the nutritional content of fruits and vegetables has confirmed this isn't the case. Because of today’s farming practices, the nutritional content of foods is far less than it was 50 years ago. If you do not take a daily antioxidant multi vitamin and mineral supplement, it is likely that you are maximizing your health.

You may not be at risk for vitamin deficiency diseases, but if you have low energy levels, trouble remembering things, trouble focusing, muscle pain, joint pain, poor vision or any number of physical ailments, then it is likely that an antioxidant multi vitamin can help.

Now that we know what are antioxidants, let's discuss differences in supplement quality.

Not all supplements are the same. Cheap supplements will not provide the safest, most effective ingredients in the most bioavailable form.

An antioxidant multi vitamin that is not designed properly may simply pass through the body without being absorbed and is simply a waste of money.

The best supplement manufacturers have teams of researchers who have studied the benefits of antioxidants to human health and have answered the question “What are antioxidants”. But, they have also found ways to ensure that their products are produced only from top notch ingredients and with effective delivery systems.

What you see on Nutritional Supplements Information is just a sample of what's available for you in our Secrets of Natural Healthy Living. Check it out now!


Much more than What are antioxidants discussed back on the home page