Antioxidants – Antioxidant Anti Aging Vitamins

AntioxidantsGenerally referred to Vitamin C, E, and Beta Carotene (aka the antioxidant vitamins). However there is more to the story then just these few well known vitamins. And taking these vitamins in synthetic supplement form may actually hurt you. Antioxidant anti aging vitamins need to be consumed in their whole or natural form to derive the most benefit.

You hear the term Antioxidant – what are Antioxidants and what do they do?

An antioxidant is a chemical that prevents the oxidation of other chemicals. In biological systems, the normal processes of oxidation (plus a minor contribution from ionizing radiation) produce highly reactive free radicals (In chemistry, free radicals are uncharged atomic or molecular species with unpaired electrons or an otherwise open shell configuration. These unpaired electrons are highly reactive, so free radicals are likely to take part in chemical reactions.) These can readily react with and damage other molecules: in some cases the body uses this to fight infection. In other cases, the damage may be to the body’s own cells. The presence of extremely easily oxidisable compounds in the system can “mop up” free radicals before they damage other essential molecules.

So you take antioxidant vitamins supplements to reduce the number of “free radicals”. The problem is blood chemistry is a very delicate balancing act. Certain Antioxidants are readily excreted and not stored by the body (Vitamin C as Ascorbic Acid), however other Vitamins such as the Synthetic form of Vitamin A may accumulate in the tissues and do more harm than good. As a general rule it’s always better to get your vitamin from real organic natural food sources.

Antioxidant Vitamins from Whole Foods – The following vitamins have shown positive antioxidant effects:

Vitamin A – Beta-Carotene

Retinol (Vitamin A or beta-carotene) has been discovered to protect dark green, yellow and orange vegetables and fruits from solar radiation damage, and is thought to play a similar role in human body. Carrots, squash, broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, kale, collards, cantaloupe, peaches and apricots are particularly rich sources of beta-carotene a precursor to one of the most well known antioxidant vitamins – Vitamin A.

Ascorbic Acid – Vitamin C

Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) is a water-soluble compound that fulfills this role, among others, in living systems. Important sources include citrus fruits (like oranges, sweet lime, etc.), green peppers, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, strawberries, raw cabbage and tomatoes. In it’s synthetic form (i.e. pill or capsule) it is usually bound with calcium or sodium as a buffer so it will not upset your stomach. Straight ascorbic acid powder should probably be avoided (Unless directed by a physician) or taken only with meals as it is highly acidic.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E (tocopherol) is fat soluble and protects lipids. Sources include wheat germ, nuts, seeds, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, vegetable oil and fish-liver oil. It’s actually hard for many individuals to get enough Vitamin E from their everyday diet so they choose to supplement. If you do this it’s generally acknowledged to keep our supplementation to 400iu per day or less. Recent studies have suggested that high levels of supplementation in a controlled group of Heart Patients actually resulted in more deaths than the patients taking placebo. As with most foods, vitamins, drugs, or herbs the key is getting the “right amount”.

Selenium

Selenium is best obtained through foods, as large doses of the supplement form can be toxic. Good food sources include fish, shellfish, red meat, grains, eggs, chicken and garlic. Vegetables can also be a good source if grown in selenium-rich soils. I am personally an egg eater (I prefer Eggland’s Best Cage Free Vegetarian Fed Brown Eggs). I eat about 3/4 dozen per week. I do not believe that cholesterol from eggs is going to cause my body to build up mass blockages in my arteries. In fact if you read the purpose of cholesterol in your body you will find it is a very beneficial substance. They may sell 10 Billion Dollars of the Cholesterol lowering Drug Lipitor each year but are they curing heart disease? NO! It’s about the money. Why do the arteries clog and not the veins? (Veins return blood to the heart). It’s because of tears in the arteries due to a variety of factors the cholesterol accumulates (It does so to repair the damage). If you want to lower your cholesterol there are many ways to do it naturally through dietary changes which we will not get into on this page. Just think – foods that are good for the liver are good for the heart.

Several food additives (including ascorbic acid and tocopherol-derived compounds) are used as antioxidants to help guard against deterioration of food. Please be cautious of food additives as many contain other “masked” impurities that are harmful. For example Textured Soy Protein sounds innocent enough until you find out it masks a significant portion of Monosodium Glutamate MSG. And when selecting vitamins your best bet is to stick to well known brands that adhere to some kind of normalization and testing procedures. Periodically consumer reports will test vitamins for purity and the results are not unsurprising. Many vitamins are full of impurities and do not have anywhere near the stated amount of the active ingredient. They also contain a significant portion of “fillers” that do your body no good. Get your vitamins from fresh organic foods whenever possible.

Posted by on Jul 8th, 2008 and filed under Antioxidants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

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