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Supplement Perspectives

Five Antioxidants for Cellular Renewal--Part I

 

People get the majority of their antioxidants from food. But today’s food sources are never enough. The body is inundated with daily stresses that include environmental toxins, electromagnetic pollution, and even excess exercise, among others, which increase the body’s antioxidant requirements. Consuming an abundance of antioxidant-rich foods will definitely make a difference. But, to help bridge the antioxidant gap resulting from an inadequate food supply, a good quality antioxidant supplement regimen is sorely needed to promote optimal health.

Before I elaborate on my “Top 5” best antioxidant supplements, I wanted to discuss the importance of cellular renewal and minimizing the damage done to cells over time. This, in my opinion, is the key to a quality life and a long and vital existence.

Oxidation and Free Radical Damage

A fundamental key to staying young is cellular renewal and minimizing the damage to cells over time. We all age. Some of us age better than others. Why? Studies have linked oxidative stress to aging. Simply stated, oxidation occurs when the body produces by-products more commonly known as free radicals. The result is something akin to a machine rusting. And when this rusting is applied to humans (and not iron), it results in aging and age-related diseases.

Our bodies normally make free radicals as part of our daily metabolism. And they occur as a result of food and environmental pollution from everyday things like air, water, and sun. As we age, we become more susceptible to the long-term effects of oxidative stress (or too many free radicals) and inflammation on the cellular level. 

The process of oxidation is abundant and can actually help our bodies work properly. But this very same process can also cause us harm. The oxidizing process creates free radicals that are electrically charged molecules. These free radicals interact with cells to create both good and bad results. For example, the immune system uses free radicals to help fight infection. However, when oxidized, LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) can be produced.

Oxidative stress is when the free radicals overwhelm the body’s antioxidant defense system causing cell damage. As previously mentioned, free radicals have useful functions in the body, but are extremely unstable molecules. If left uncontrolled, they will destroy cells, enzymes, and DNA and ultimately accelerate the aging process. Moreover, free radicals can also contribute to the development of many age-related diseases including arthritis, cancer, and heart disease.

Inflammation is caused by free radical damage.  And the negative effects of free radicals are due to oxidation. How can this be addressed in a nutritional regimen? Antioxidants play a major role in combating oxidative stress and can minimize the damage free radicals cause in the body. Some foods are high in antioxidant content. Certain foods contain phytonutrients that many health professionals believe are capable of unlocking the key to longevity.

I'll talk more about phytonutrients in tomorrow's post, along with the five antioxidants I like for cellular renewal. 

TAGS: Ingredients
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