In many aspects of life, including health and beauty, everyone seems to resort to shortcuts and instant remedies. Unhealthy lifestyles contribute largely to the destruction of our bodies and we seem to have come to the stage when we turn to instant cures or treatments. One of the most popular products in the market today are antioxidant supplements, which are promoted as the solution to a frail and aging body. What exactly are antioxidant supplements and what do they do? Antioxidants refer to the substances that are believed to fight against diseases related to aging such as cardiovascular diseases, stroke and cancer. Examples of antioxidants include vitamins A, C and E, carotenoids, lycopene, glutathione, and many more. They are known to stop the production of free radicals from oxidized tissues. These molecules form chain reactions that damage the cells. When antioxidants stop the chain reaction, cell death is prevented. It is in this light that pharmaceutical companies created antioxidant supplements and market them as the answer to many major health problems.
While antioxidants are indeed vital to the body, there are some important facts that you need to know before you decide to include one or more antioxidant supplements in your daily intake.
1. Antioxidants neither cure nor treat diseases. They may have properties and actions that can prevent cell damage but they should not be used as alternative medicine.
2. Most antioxidants can be found in healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains and whole wheat. Each has its different properties and should be prepared exactly as they are meant to be prepared. For example, beta-carotene from carrots become more available when cooked while lycopene from tomatoes become less potent when cooked for too long. In general, processed and preserved foods have very little or no antioxidants left.
3. The claims of all antioxidant supplements as extraordinarily beneficial to the health are not reviewed and backed by the Food and Drug Administration. At best they are statements of their own lab researcher or maybe from someone hired to market their products. Although the results for researches on antioxidants showed positive results, it did not do the same for the supplements.
4. Some supplements even cause more damage to the body and even death. Wrong dosage, wrong combinations, fake antioxidants and other factors contribute to untrustworthiness of many supplement products. Clinical trials and studies do not support the effectiveness of antioxidant supplements. Some companies just take advantage of the people’s vulnerability to misleading information.
You should not worry that you are not taking a specific or any kind of antioxidant supplements being marketed as the solution to your health problems. You can do well without any supplements since many antioxidants are present in the food we eat. Some of them are also synthesized in the body at the right amount and dosage. Everything is taken care of naturally. What we need to do is just maximize what nature has provided us. Start by eating right, drinking plenty of water, and exercising regularly.