Should You Be Taking Antioxidant Supplements?

A key ingredient to improving your fitness and living a healthy life is antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that protect your cells against the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are produced by the process of oxidation. Oxidation is a normal part of your body’s processes but can also damage your body.

Antioxidants can prevent damage to your cells and repair the damage already done. They can also improve your immune functions and reduce your risk of infection. Antioxidants also have been shown to reduce the damage done by exposure to certain harmful chemicals such as cigarette smoke and pesticides.

It’s important to make sure you’re getting enough antioxidants through diet or supplements. Even though our bodies naturally produce antioxidants and are quite effective at fighting free radicals this production generally slows down with age so as we get older it’s doubly important to make sure that we’re eating a healthy diet.

Foods that are rich in nutrients such as beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium are excellent sources of antioxidants. Some great sources of antioxidants are:

  • Berries – Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and cranberries are among the best sources of antioxidants.
  • Nuts – Almonds, walnuts, pistachios and pecans are known for being packed with antioxidant content.
  • Fruits – Apples are high in antioxidants along with pineapple, avocados and cherries.
  • Dark chocolate – As high or higher than almost any other food, dark chocolate is a great source of antioxidants.

Eating foods high in antioxidants also provide many other health benefits. In addition to their antioxidant content, these foods are often high in fiber and protein as well as other important vitamins and minerals.

If you’re not always eating a healthy diet you can get antioxidant supplements in herbal or natural form. Keep in mind that even though you may be taking vitamins that contain antioxidants, your focus should be to remain on a healthy diet.

Eating foods that are high in antioxidants is preferable to taking supplements because supplements generally contain only a few specific types of antioxidants while foods can contain hundreds or even thousands of different types. We know the value of many of these antioxidants but we don’t know all of them.

If you’re concerned about boosting your intake of antioxidants, the smart money bet seems to be to pass on the supplements and to start adding more foods that are known to be rich in antioxidants to your diet.

As always, talk to your doctor about a healthier diet and whether antioxidant supplements are right for you.

Do Antioxidant Supplements Work To Combat Aging?

The majority of us believe that we get the proper amounts of vitamins and antioxidants from our diet, that we don’t demand anymore than what is supplied by what we eat alone. This is just not valid. If we look at statistics, that statement couldn’t be farther from the truth. Most of us do not consume the correct foods to supply us with many of the essential nutrients to live long and vital lives. The typical diet is either seriously lacking many of these nutrients and antioxidants, or is completely absent of them. In a lot of cases, the human body can not create these nutrients, and more importantly, antioxidants on its own.

Cellular damage is a core contributing factor in cancer, aging and a variety of diseases. Antioxidants combat against this activity in the body as they are meticulously involved with preventing cellular damage. A free radical is an atom or group of atoms that has at least one unpaired electron and is therefore unstable and greatly reactive. Free radicals force oxidative stress on cells and promote the aging process. Once a free radical is created, these extremely reactive radicals can begin a system of measures that occurs in the body. Their main danger comes from the destruction they can do when they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane. Cells may perform poorly or die if this occurs. To thwart free radical harm, the body has a defense system of antioxidants.

Before vital cells are damaged, antioxidants interfere with these free radicals inside the body. They act as little combatants fighting to keep our bodies running at premium levels. Although there are several enzyme systems within the body that scavenge free radicals, the body cannot manufacture many of these nutrients on its own, as a result they must be supplied along with ones diet. While having the perfect diet will go a long way to achieving health bliss, it genuinely cannot be reached unless taking the proper mixture of antioxidant supplements. This is where antioxidant supplements play a major role.

While research continues to materialize on particular antioxidant supplements to further ascertain the benefits they exhibit in the human body, the research previously completed are extremely positive and support many of the statements made by these supplements. Understanding the aging process and its influence on our bodies helps to correlate what anti-aging supplements to take to obstruct cell and tissue destruction. The research up to this point on these 7 specific antioxidants is overwhelmingly encouraging and ought to be looked at earnestly when considering what antioxidant supplements to consume to attack aging. The human body in most cases simply can not create many of these antioxidants on its own, so no matter how good your diet is, the assurance these supplements present you is considerable. If your goal is to lead a healthy life and want something to help you slow down the rate at which you age, then these antioxidant supplements can help you reach that goal.

Buy Antioxidant Supplements As Long As You Take Other Steps

There are a lot of health conscious people who spend time and money researching and buying antioxidant supplements for the simple reason that they want the benefits that antioxidants can provide for their health. The list of benefits we derive from antioxidants is impressive and totally legitimate. The problem is that simply taking antioxidant supplements will not do the whole job.

The Role of Antioxidants

To understand what antioxidants do and why they’re important, you need to understand free radicals, which are caused by rogue electrons. Let’s go to the big picture first and then focus in on free radicals.

The body has a system of organs – like your heart, lungs and liver which perform certain specific functions – every one of which is essential for your health. The organs are made up of living tissue and the tissue is made up of cells – literally trillions of them. The cells are composed of molecules which are themselves composed of atoms which have neutrons, positrons and electrons. The electrons of most atoms are in pairs and the paired structure is essential for them to remain stable. If, for some reason, an atom loses an electron (and it happens all the time) a free radical is formed. The atom will steal an electron from another atom. When this happens, a new atom- which is part of a molecule, in its turn, becomes unstable (a free radical) and is off to steal another electron from somewhere else.

As you can imagine, a chain reaction occurs, that left unchecked will damage the structure of the cell. When this happens, the tissue of an organ gets cluttered up with a lot of damaged cells which left long enough will impair the function of the organ.

Antioxidants are molecules containing atoms that can donate an electron to a free radical and will either remain stable without it or will become too weak to steal an electron from another atom. Regardless why, the chain reaction is stopped and the antioxidant has protected the cell. Bruce Ames, a well known scientist studying antioxidants estimated that a cell will be hit up to 10,000 times daily by a free radical looking to steal an electron. And to put that into perspective – consider the trillions of cells in our bodies.

This attack by free radicals contributes to (and some will say primarily causes) many of the acute and chronic diseases that we associate with aging. Alzheimer’s disease, acute and chronic inflammation, coronary disease, cancer, type II diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and some types of dementia have all been traced back to free radical damage. And that’s not the full list.

If you want to reduce your own production of free radicals and get more antioxidants into your body to help clean up the mess they cause, deciding to buy antioxidants supplements isn’t enough. You need to:

Stop causing the damage. Free radicals are created through many processes. Many of which we can control. Air pollution, primary and second hand tobacco smoke, substance abuse, Junk Food, unnecessary chemicals and excessive exercise (yes even good things than go bad) all create free radicals and all are within our ability to control.

Eat more fresh foods and more fruits and VEGETABLES. You can’t tell me you didn’t expect to see vegetables on the list? The list of foods that we can take to boost our levels of specific antioxidants is almost too long to mention. But think deep green and think blue and start your research from there.

Buy antioxidants and antioxidant supplements. Supplements like Vitamins C and E, Resveratrol and Cordyceps are excellent examples of antioxidants supplements that are available to buy. Research your choices first because sources, quality and usability will vary widely, but you can add them as part of your plan.

Take Glutathione precursors. Your levels of Glutathione – the Master Antioxidant cannot be effectively increased by direct supplementation. Glutathione is actually manufactured by your body. This is an extremely important antioxidant and to help your body overcome the natural production declines that come with aging, you can eat foods like asparagus and broccoli, try Milk Thistle, Whey Protein, Turmeric or Selenium or buy glutathione precursor