Oxidants, usually referred to as ‘free radicals’ are produced as a natural by-product of the millions of biochemical processes undertaken by the body every minute. The same life-giving oxygen that supports all the functions of the body creates these harmful by-products which cause cell damage, usually to DNA, fats and proteins.
Free radicals also enter the body through external influences such as exposure to the sun, pesticides and other kinds of environmental pollution. In addition, their levels are increased by mental and physical stress, the consumption of alcoholic beverages, unhealthy foods, and cigarette smoke.
In much the same way as oxidation causes rust on cars, oxidation inside the body causes a breakdown of cells. If the amount of free radical oxidation in the body is allowed to rise to an unhealthy level, it can result in extensive damage to cellular components and can accelerate the ageing process.
More importantly, it may contribute to a wide range of degenerative illnesses and reduce the body’s ability to deal with other problems, including cardiovascular malfunction, eye disease, and cancer. Additionally, it may result in a compromised immune system, leading to immunological disorders and a lessening of the body’s ability to heal wounds and overcome infections. Some studies indicate possible links to arthritis and similar chronic conditions.
Antioxidants counter these effects by binding with free radicals before they can cause damage. They then convert them into non-damaging biochemical substances, assisting enormously with the reparation of cellular damage.
Certain antioxidant enzymes are produced within the body such as catalase, superoxide dismutase and glutathione:
Other antioxidants can be consumed through the diet. Some of the better known include the antioxidant vitamins beta-carotene, vitamin B6, vitamin C and vitamin E.
Minerals such as selenium, zinc, glutathione and co-enzyme Q10 may also have antioxidant properties, and so may flavonoids such as cranberry, some amino acids, plus organic extracts from green tea and grape seeds.
A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables provides a large supply of these antioxidants, to help eliminate damaging free radicals. The highest concentrations are found in fruits and leafy green vegetables, such as carrots, orange and red peppers, spinach and tomatoes. Fruits like the acai berry are amazing in the health world because of the wide range and high number of antioxidants they contain, making them a great source of antioxidants.
Antioxidants are best taken in combination, since single antioxidants, such as vitamin E, need other vitamins in order to work as an effective antioxidant. Food and natural supplements may therefore provide the most bioavailable source of antioxidants.
In looking for an antioxidant supplement, I recommend Proancynol 2000 in my practice.
Proancynol 2000 is a natural antioxidant supplement that supports immune function and is formulated to improve the natural glutathione levels in the body. It contains seven antioxidant rich ingredients which are: Alpha-lipoic acid, Grape Seed extract, Green tea extract, Lycopene, N-acetyl-L-cysteine, Rosemary extract and Selenium. This combination of ingredients works synergistically to help prevent free radical damage, slow the aging process and support the immune system daily.