The focus of research on vitamins these days is how antioxidant supplements may play a role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Antioxidant supplements – E, C, and beta-carotene (a form of vitamin A) – have potential when it comes to health promotion. However, most data available about such health promoting properties of antioxidant supplements are incomplete. And only up to 30 percent Americans are taking some form of antioxidant supplements.
But what exactly are antioxidants and how important are they?
Antioxidants come in two forms. They can either be vitamins or minerals. They help prevent oxygen from reacting with other chemicals in cells. Such reactions – called oxidation – could lead to cell damage which may result in heart disease and cancer.
Antioxidants can be found in a variety of foods, but they are far more common in fresh fruits and vegetables. A health diet of fresh produce could lead to high levels of antioxidants in your body, which could only mean one thing – less free radicals (those harmful molecules that cause cell damage) and a healthier you.
When antioxidants start to work, they destroy the free radicals or break the chain. You see, here’s what happens when you have lots of free radicals in your body. Because they are highly unstable, these free radicals have the tendency to steal or get electrons from stable molecules and in so doing, make those molecules unstable as well, turning them into free radicals. This becomes a long chain and will go on and on until such a chain in broken. This is where antioxidants come in whose sole function is to break the chain and neutralize free radicals.
During the process of neutralization, the antioxidants are neutralized themselves. Hence, they also become oxidized. That is why the body needs a constant source of antioxidants in order to keep combating these harmful free radicals and stop them from multiplying.
With the kind of diet most of us have these days, it is very likely that we may not be getting enough antioxidants from the foods that we eat. And remember that the body needs to replenish its levels of antioxidants constantly. This is where antioxidant supplements come in.
Because the body may not be getting enough antioxidants because you don’t enough fruits or you don’t eat a lot of vegetables, you therefore need an alternate source such as antioxidant supplements.
Antioxidant supplements are that source. And while antioxidant supplements can’t very well take the place of natural antioxidants, they can however aid in increasing the level of antioxidants in your body.
The antioxidant vitamins found in fruits, vegetables, teas and supplements are proving to be powerful agents in the fight against disease causing free radicals.
The original concept was to take recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamins to a level that would prevent acute deficiency diseases like the Sailor’s disease scurvy. These are the standards by which RDA’s were created.
However, in recent years, research has shown that Vitamins taken in higher doses can prevent sever chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease. A debate still rages, but there is a plethora of research being done on Vitamin A, C, E, the antioxidant vitamins.
A National Institute of Health clinical trial involving people at high risk of developing advanced stages of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), showed that patients’ risk decreased by 25 percent when treated with high doses of antioxidant vitamins and zinc.
Another study at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta showed that taking Vitamin E along with multivitamins reduced risk from stroke and heart illness. Among patients who took the combination, mortality risk decreased by 15 percent for these two diseases.
This September, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) concluded a study investigating the relationship between Vitamin C and cancer, suggesting that Vitamin C may fight cancer. They found, in a laboratory setting, that high doses of Vitamin C injected directly into the bloodstream killed cancer cells.
Though the current RDA for Vitamin C is stuck at 60 mg, many researchers suggest that raising the RDA to between 100 and 200 mg would be a great way for people to get the antioxidants that they need to maintain overall well being.
Be careful when purchasing vitamins and supplements though. Research has shown that whole food vitamins, or vitamins with their co-factors, are much more effective than isolated nutrients. Nutrition is a complex process of thousands of chemical reactions within our bodies. Vitamins are always better in their natural state – in the foods we eat. Supplements should never be used in place of a poor diet.
A key ingredient to improving your lifestyle and living a healthy life is antioxidants. There are several antioxidant supplements out there that can help you live a healthy life, that are natural and won’t cause you any damage. You can also eat different types of food that contain antioxidants as well, although supplements are the ideal way to get the right amounts of antioxidants.
If you take in more antioxidants through food and supplements, there are a few benefits that you’ll have, with the first being cell protection. Antioxidants can help to protect your cells from damage, which helps to fend off diseases. Many times, you can have a lack of vitamins in your body, which will cause you to recover from diseases or injury very slow. If you have the right amount of vitamins and antioxidants in your body, you’ll notice the differences.
In most cases, you can get antioxidant supplements in the form of herbal or natural, which will greatly help your body. They have a lot of benefits as well, such as preventing various diseases, keeping blood clotting under control, and restoring libido. Nutrition and proper dieting is a very important part of life, therefore you should always keep your health under control and make sure you eat well.
There are non synthetic supplements out there as well, that are ideal for keeping your health maintained. They can be easily absorbed by your body, unlike that of synthetic supplements. Synthetic supplements are well known for their absorbing, as it can take a long time before you see any type of results. Non synthetic on the other hand, gives you almost immediate results, as they are easily absorbed by the body and don’t have any type of side effects.
Keep in mind that even though you may be taking vitamins that contain antioxidants, you’ll still need to remain on a healthy diet. You’ll need food that contains the minerals and vitamins you need as well, although the supplement vitamins will give you more. You can also use vitamins and supplements that contain antioxidants if you aren’t able to eat the right foods that contain these precious nutrients.
In addition to antioxidant vitamins and supplements, there are number of foods which are rich in antioxidants. Most common source of antioxidants are berries, however, the following foods are also a very good source of antioxidants:
- Flax Seeds
These foods should be part of the balanced diet you eat so that you can get enough antioxidants naturally. For more reasons than one, you should always make sure that you include foods and supplements that contain antioxidants in your diet. If you aren’t taking in the right amount of antioxidants, you’ll be at a risk for disease or other harmful effects. Antioxidants do a lot for your body, which is why you want to ensure that you are taking in the right amounts. You can find many different vitamins and supplements that include them, all you need to do is make sure that you are eating right and doing all you can to lead a healthy lifestyle.
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