Antioxidant Arsenal Against Free Radicals
Are you using a broad spectrum antioxidant supplement to protect yourself from free radicals? There are more than 1,110 different families of free radicals so it doesn’t make sense to rely on just a couple of antioxidants to fight aging and sickness. To get as many types of antioxidants into your body as possible, nutritionists recommend eating a wide variety of foods which are rich in antioxidants. The same applies to antioxidant supplements. Some potent ingredients to include in your antioxidant arsenal are:
This facilitates the work of enzymes and it is important for cell growth and energy production in each cell in the body. Coenzyme Q10 is found in every cell, with the highest concentration being in the heart and the liver. It is a potent antioxidant which helps the immune system work better, and has shown promising results in the treatment of cancer and parkinson’s disease. People with chronic diseases have been found to have low levels of coenzyme Q10. Coenzyme Q10 levels also decrease with age.
An antioxidant and anti-carcinogen which attacks destructive cells in the body and boosts the immune system. Selenium works together with Vitamin E to gather free radicals which can cause cell mutation, some cancers, and the effects of aging. This trace mineral is important to healthy muscles, nerves and blood vessels, which is why it is used to treat cardiac-vascular disease, sexual dysfunction, infertility, menopausal problems and skin disorders.
“Vitamin E” is the collective name for a group of fat-soluble compounds with distinctive antioxidant activities. Antioxidants protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals, which are molecules that contain an unshared electron. Unshared electrons are highly energetic and react rapidly with oxygen to form reactive oxygen species (ROS). Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that stops the production of ROS formed when fat undergoes oxidation. Plant oils such as soya, corn and olive oil are the richest sources of Vitamin E. Other good sources include nuts and seeds, and wheatgerm.
Vitamin A is also known as retinol. It promotes good vision; helps form and maintain healthy skin and mucus linings, teeth and skeletal and soft tissue, and strengthens immunity to infections. Vitamin A helps cells differentiate, an essential part of cell reproduction. Cells that are not fully differentiated are more likely to undergo pre-cancerous changes. Good sources of vitamin A include liver, dairy products, eggs, and oily fish (such as mackerel).
Known also as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C has long been known to be a powerful antioxidant. It is necessary to form collagen that, amongst other functions, helps keep the skin firm. Vitamin C also slows down the visible signs of aging.
Zinc is an essential mineral that is required by every cell in the human body. It facilitates wound healing, which may help diabetics. Zinc reduces the length and severity of colds, canker sores, sore throats, and skin injuries, including acne. It can also help eye problems. It is also believed to be effective in fighting auto-immune diseases, and inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and fibromyalgia.
Potassium is involved in nerve function, muscle control, blood pressure, maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance in body cells, and releasing energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrates during metabolism. This mineral plays a key role in cardiac, skeletal, and smooth muscle contraction, making it an important nutrient for normal heart, kidney, digestive, and muscular function. Potassium is found in many foods, especially meat, milk, fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains, citrus fruit, molasses, and fish.
Turmeric Root Extract
Turmeric is a spice whose active ingredient is curcumin. It is an antioxidant which can reduce inflammation and the pain associated with arthritis, colitis and other inflammatory diseases. Curcumin prevents the spread of harmful amyloid plaques found in the brain of Alzheimer’s sufferers. These plaques have a key role in symptoms such as memory loss and mental impairment. Studies indicate that turmeric slows the growth and spread of existing cancerous tumors. Communities which consume turmeric regularly have been observed to have low incidences of certain kinds of cancer.
Green Tea Extract
The active ingredients in green tea extract are polyphenols in the form of flavinoids like catechins and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Polyphenols, flavinoids, catechins and EGCG are powerful antioxidants that appear to interfere with and reduce the spread of certain types of cancer cells. The antioxidant activity of EGCG in green tea extract is said to be up to 100 times more powerful than that of vitamin C or E.
Rosemary Leaf Extract
This is derived from the natural anti-oxidants present in rosemary, an anti-bacterial anti-oxidant that works synergistically with Vitamin E. Therapeutic compounds found in rosemary include tannins, flavonoids, caffeic acid derivatives such as rosmarinic acid, diterpenes such as carnosol or carnosic acid, and essential oil. Rosmarinic acid has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and may relieve pain. The diterpenes are thought to be potent antioxidants and carnosol has been shown to help prevent tumors in mice.
White Pine Bark Extract
Pine bark extract, commercially known as Pycnogenol, has an antioxidant potency comparable to Vitamins E and C, and lipoic acid. It plays a part in extending the lifetime of vitamin C in the body, prolonging its beneficial effects as an antioxidant. Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, found that pycnogenol also suppresses the production of NO (nitric oxide). Excess NO has been linked to inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.
Quercetin is a phytochemical which gives the skin of apples and red onions their colour. It is a powerful antioxidant which research indicates may help to prevent cancer, especially prostate cancer, and inhibit agents such as LDL (bad cholesterol) from causing oxidative damage to the body. Quercetin is considered a phytoestrogen. a plant substance with similar functions as that of estrogen. Some phytoestrogens are believed also to have antiestrogenic effects that might reduce the risks of certain cancers. Quercetin was found to have this antiestrogenic activity by inhibiting breast cancer cells in a test tube. Quercetin is also a natural anti-histamine, and anti-inflammatory.
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)
In numerous studies, alpha lipoic acid has shown both antioxidant and detoxification properties. Besides protecting cells from oxidative damage, ALA has demonstrated chelating properties, binding with heavy metals to remove them from the bloodstream. ALA also prevents glycosylation, which occurs from the abnormal attachment of a sugar to a protein, a potentially cancer-causing process.
NAC helps the body synthesise glutathione, an important antioxidant. The antioxidant activity of n-acetyl cysteine helps protect the liver from the adverse effects of certain toxic chemicals, and it has even been used to treat liver failure. NAC also protects lung tissue. Double-blind research has found that NAC supplements improved symptoms and prevented recurrences in people with chronic bronchitis. In addition, supplementation with NAC has been shown to reduce the proliferation of certain cells lining the colon and may reduce the risk of colon cancer in people with recurrent polyps in the colon.
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