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Free Radicals and Antioxidants – Should You Take Antioxidant Supplements

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free radicals

Free Radicals and Antioxidants– The Enemy Within

Free radicals are unstable molecules within the body that attack and destroy benign cells making the body vulnerable to illness. They damage the biochemical processes within cells and compromise the bodies immune system which makes the body vulnerable to disease. Free radicals are also known as oxidants and to neutralize them you need to take Antioxidants. It is ironic that oxygen, an element indispensable for life, under certain situations has negative effects on the human body.

According to the free radical theory of aging, free radicals break cells down over time. As our body ages, it loses its ability to fight the effects of free radicals. The result is more oxidative stress, more free radicals and more damage to our cells, which leads to a faster degenerative processes, as well as “normal” aging.

A free radical can be defined as any molecular species capable of independent existence that contains an unpaired electron in an atomic orbital. The most important oxygen containing free radicals in many disease states are hydroxyl radical, superoxide anion radical, hydrogen peroxide, oxygen singlet, hypochlorite, nitric oxide radical, and peroxynitrite radical.

Free radicals are derived either from normal essential metabolic processes in the human body or from external sources such as exposure to X-rays, ozone, cigarette smoking, air pollutants, and industrial chemicals. Free radicals formation occurs continuously in the cells as a consequence of both enzymatic and nonenzymatic reactions.

A balance between antioxidants and free radicals is necessary for normal physiological functions. If free radicals overwhelm the body’s ability to regulate them, a condition known as oxidative stress ensues. Free radicals thereby adversely alter lipids, proteins, and DNA and trigger a number of human diseases.

Free radicals can also be formed in non-enzymatic reactions of oxygen with organic compounds as well as those initiated by ionizing reactions. Free radical reactions are expected to produce progressive adverse changes that accumulate with age throughout the body. Such “normal” changes with age are relatively common to everyone.

Antioxidants can be categorized as being a) water-soluble or b) fat-soluble and divided up according to source of origin. Within the body a) Superoxide dimutase (SOD) -prevents the damage caused by the harmful oxygen molecule known as superoxide. b) Glutathione – is an amino acid which is transformed by our bodies into glutathione peroxidase, a powerful antioxidant. Glutathione is a major cellular cleanser and a free radical scavenger. It cleanses heavy metals and protects and detoxifies heavy metals against damage from smoking cigarettes, radiation and chemotherapy.

Although there are several enzymes producing systems in the body that rid free radicals, the principle micronutrient  antioxidants (vitamins) are vitamin E, vitamin C, and B-carotene. The body cannot manufacture these micronutrients, so they must be supplied in the diet or with supplements.

Foods Rich in Antioxidants

  • Cocoa: the antioxidants in cocoa and dark chocolate have been linked to impressive health benefits such as less inflammation and reduced risk factors for heart disease. While a daily chocolate bar with the added sugar may not be the best way to fight free radicals it can be one of the easiest one to consume on a regular basis.
  • Coffee: Coffee has more antioxidant properties than cocoa. Scientists have identified approximately 1,000 antioxidants in unprocessed coffee beans, and hundreds more develop during the roasting process. Coffee is particularly rich in several powerful antioxidants, including hydrocinnamic acids and polyphenols. Polyphenols in coffee may prevent a number of conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Hydrocinnamic acids are very effective at neutralizing free radicals and preventing oxidative stress.  Want to supercharge your morning cup of joe? Make it a Mocha Java.
  • Blueberries: Several studies suggest that blueberries contain the highest amount of antioxidants among all common fruits and vegetables. In addition, research from studies has shown that the antioxidants in blueberries may slow down the decline in brain function that tends to happen with age.
  • Strawberries: Strawberries are a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants. Strawberries provide up to 5.4 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces. Strawberries contain a type of antioxidant called anthocyanins, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and raising “good” HDL cholesterol.
  • Raspberries: Raspberries are a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, manganese and antioxidants to help fight free radicals. Raspberries have up to 4 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces. Several studies have linked the antioxidants and other components in raspberries to lower risks of cancer and heart disease.
  • Spinach: Spinach is one of the most nutritionally dense vegetables available. It is chock full with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and is incredibly low in calories. Spinach is a great source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that may help protect your eyes from damaging UV light and other harmful light wavelengths. These antioxidants help combat damage to the eyes that free radicals may cause over time.
  • Kale: Kale is one of the most nutritious green vegetables and is rich in vitamins A, K and C. It’s also rich in antioxidants. However, red varieties of kale such as redbor and red Russian kale may contain nearly twice as much antioxidants. This is because red varieties of kale contain more anthocyanin antioxidants as well as several other antioxidants that give them their vibrant color. Kale is also a great plant-based source of calcium, an important mineral that helps maintain bone health.
  • Beets: Beets are a great source of fiber, potassium, folate, iron, and antioxidants. Beets are particularly rich in a group of antioxidants called betalains. These give beets their reddish color and have been linked to health benefits. Several studies have linked betalains to a lower risk of cancers in the colon and digestive tract.
  • Pecans: Pecans are a good source of healthy fats and minerals, plus contain a high amount of antioxidants. Pecans contain up to 10.6 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces. The high level of antioxidants come at a price though as they are high in calories so if you are a calorie counter eat sparingly. Pecans can help raise antioxidant levels in the blood. A study found that people who consumed pecans experienced a 26–33% fall in oxidized blood LDL levels within two to eight hours. High levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol in the blood is a risk factor for heart disease.


Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress is a term used to describe the condition of oxidative damage resulting when the critical balance between free radical generation and antioxidant defenses is unfavorable. Oxidative stress develops as a result of an imbalance between antioxidant defenses and free radical production. It is associated with damage to a wide range of molecules including lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids.

Oxidative stress has been seen as a contributing factor in many dieseses, including certain cancers, anthersclerosis, inflammatory condition, and the aging process. Oxidative stress is now thought to make a significant contribution to all inflammatory diseases (arthritis, vasculitis, lupus, adult respiratory diseases syndrome, as well as heart disease, hypertension, stroke, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, emphysema, gastric ulcers, and  neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and muscular dystrophy, alcoholism, smoking-related diseases, and many others. An excess amount of oxidative stress can lead to the oxidation of lipids and proteins.

Heart diseases continue to be the biggest killer, responsible for about half of all the deaths. Free Radicals may affect cardiovascular diseases therefore; it has potential to provide enormous benefits to our health and lifespan if we can rid them or slow them down with antioxidants.


Vitamin A

Vitamin A and its precursor beta carotene are powerful free radical scavengers.

Now Supplements Vitamin A

Vitamin C

Vitamin C has been proven time and time again that vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin C combined with bioflavonoid ends up being much more potent. It likewise boosts the immune system and may recycle other antioxidants like vitamin E.

GNC Vitamin C

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an effective antioxidant also, and prevents oxidation of lipids(oxidized LDL is responsible for hardening of the arteries. It likewise also improves oxygen utilization, improves immunity resistance, and might be useful in preventing cataracts caused by free radicals and has a protective effect on the heart.

Horbaach Vitamin E



Selenium acts synergistically with vitamin E and might also likewise increase vitamin E uptake.

Bronson Selenium


Zinc has antioxidant properties or commercial properties and is a constituent of superoxide dimutase (SOD). It might assist in maintaining vitamin E levels in the blood and aid in absorption of vitamin A.

Premium Zinc Oxide Supplement

Other important antioxidants


CoQ10 is an antioxidant that may play a crucial role in generation of cellular energy, immune system stimulation and also play a role in certain cardiovascular conditions. It may exert its’ antioxidant effect by scavenging single oxygen molecules.

Qunol CoQ10

Alphalipoic acid

Alphalipoic Acid aka ALA- may enhance the performance of vitamin E, vitamin C and glutathione. It is both {water-soluble and fat soluble and for that reason is also known called the “universal antioxidant”.

Jarrow Alpha Lipoic Acid


Lutein is found naturally in vegetables like spinach and kale. It promotes long-term eye health in two ways. Lutein protects the eyes from harmful effects of the sun and as an antioxidant it protects the eyes from free radical damage and early aging. The human body is unable to produce lutein, so the body needs to rely on lutein rich foods and supplements.

Jarrow Lutein


DHEO is also called the “mother hormonal agent”, due to the fact that it is the raw material for many steroid hormonal agents produced in the body. It acts as an antioxidant and might be effective in preventing premature aging and stress.

Maximum Stregnth DHEA


Melatonin may provide special protection to the nucleus within a cell, which contains DNA. It might stimulate the enzyme glutathione peroxidase. Also, used as a sleep aid.

Natrol Melatonin

How to Fight Free Radicals-To summarize:

Regular antioxidant consumption might contribute to a longer and healthier life. Antioxidants may protect your bodies cells against the effects of free radicals — molecules produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to tobacco smoke and radiation. Dietary intake of antioxidants is essential for optimal health. Antioxidants are compounds that your body makes naturally to fight free radicals.

The best strategy to ensure aa healthy antioxidant intake is to follow a diet that is rich in various fruits and vegetables, alongside other healthy habits. Low-dose supplements, such as multivitamins, may be beneficial if you are unable to follow a healthy diet or are deficient in certain nutrients.

Antioxidants like superoxide dimutase(SOD) may also protect against hearing loss. Vitamins A,C, E and melatonin might lower age related degenerative diseases and slow the aging process. Vitamin C – it has actually been proven time and time again that vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin C combined with bioflavonoid becomes even more powerful. It also enhances the immune system and may recycle other antioxidants like vitamin E. Vitamin E – is a powerful antioxidant as well, and prevents oxidation of lipids (oxidized LDL is responsible for hardening of the arteries). It also improves oxygen utilization, enhances immunity resistance, may be beneficial in preventing cataracts caused by free radicals and has a protective effect on the heart. Lutein protects the eyes from the damaging effects of the sun and as an antioxidant it protects the eyes from free radical damage and premature aging.

For further reading:

The Antioxidant Miracle: Your Complete Plan for Total Health and Healing

Amazon Kindle Edition:

Mary Ruth’s Liquid Multivitamin

Morning Liquid Vitamins by MaryRuth (Raspberr…

Supergreens Antioxidant blend

Super Greens Powder Premium Superfood – 20+ O…

When to take Vitamins and Supplements to fight Free Radicals

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