Antioxidants ‘sacrifice’ themselves to stabilise and neutralise free radicals and are important for good health and general wellbeing.
Free radicals are normal by-products of chemical reactions that take place in the body, formed when oxygen interacts with various molecules, just like a cut apple that turns brown when exposed to oxygen. Free radicals contain ‘unpaired’ electrons making them very unstable and highly reactive molecules that seek out and ‘steal’ electrons from other molecules such as proteins, fats, DNA or cell membranes. This process is known as ‘oxidation’ and leads to ‘oxidative damage’ with detrimental effects on cells.
Everything from breathing and eating, to pollutant exposure, can trigger oxidative damage. Oxidative cellular damage is a common feature in the source and progression of many health conditions. How the body responds to oxidative damage depends on age, genetics, medical history, level of exposure to pollutants and other environmental stressors, including diet and lifestyle.
Antioxidants love working together
The body has its own ‘built-in’ antioxidant network that interacts with free radicals. A balance between free radicals and antioxidants is necessary for good health and a deficiency in antioxidants allows free radical production to escalate and overwhelm the body’s capacity to regulate them. Antioxidants love working together and often interact with each other synergistically to produce a more potent antioxidant effect than the sum total of individual antioxidants, helping to strengthen the antioxidant network.
Nature provides an abundance of antioxidants in the form of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and herbs that have the ability to recycle other antioxidants and then replenish themselves. Our top picks include:
- Vitamin A: or its precursor betacarotene, supports healthy immune system function and acts together with other antioxidants including vitamins C and E.
- Vitamin C: helps maintain connective tissue and is important for collagen production. Vitamin C is one of the most important water-soluble antioxidants that helps regenerate vitamin E.
- Vitamin E: supports healthy immune system function and is one of the most important fat-soluble antioxidants that can be regenerated and recycled over and over again.
- Zinc: supports healthy immune system function, helps maintain connective tissue, limits oxidative damage, protects against vitamin E depletion and controls vitamin A release.
- Selenium: supports healthy immune system function and is an important component of many of the body’s own enzyme antioxidants, playing a key role in the antioxidant network.
- Ubiquinol: plays an important role in all energy-dependant processes and is essential for energy production. Ubiquinol helps maintain heart, circulatory and blood vessel health in healthy individuals and is an effective fat-soluble antioxidant that prolongs the antioxidant activity of vitamins C and E by recycling and regenerating them back to their antioxidant form. See more here: Ubiquinol 100mg
- Lipoic acid: involved in energy production and helps maintain nerve health and healthy blood vessels in healthy individuals. Lipoic acid is a unique water and fat-soluble antioxidant that regenerates and prolongs the life of other antioxidants including vitamins C and E, ubiquinol and glutathione. See more here: Alpha Lipoic 300
- Glutathione: is considered the body’s ‘master antioxidant’ that supports liver detoxification.
- Grape seed: contains potent antioxidant compounds known oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs). Grape seed supports healthy veins, blood vessels and microcirculation, including to peripheral areas, helping to relieve swelling, heaviness and tingling of the legs in healthy individuals. Grape seed helps maintain heart health and a healthy cardiovascular system, and helps to protect and maintain eye health. See more here: Grape Seed Gold
- St Mary’s thistle: is a liver tonic and antioxidant that protects the liver from toxins, assists in healthy liver cell regeneration and is traditionally used for the relief of symptoms of non-specific dyspepsia, such as bloating, flatulence and heartburn. See more here: St Mary’s Thistle 35 000