5 main Antioxidants

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that are produced by the body and also occur naturally in many foods to prevent damage to our body cells. Antioxidants work together to keep us healthy even during the late years of our life. They protect us from the harmful damage caused by free radicals (Packer and Colman, 1999).

What are free radicals?

Free radicals are substances produced by our body during the normal course of energy production. Environmental toxins like certain chemicals, smoke, pollutants, solar radiation etc also trigger the production of free radicals. Scientists believe that free radicals are unstable molecules that damage the cell structure and cause nearly every kind of diseases, taking from heart disease to arthritis to cancer to cataracts. Free radicals are known to be the major damage causing entities in aging process (Packer and Colman, 1999).

Among the hundreds of antioxidants in our system, there is a dynamic interplay between five key antioxidants. These five key oxidants, vitamin C and E, glutathione, lipoic acid and Coenzyme Q 10, are called network antioxidants. These five network antioxidants when put together, greatly enhance the activity of one another (Packer and Colman, 1999).

Vitamin C: This is a water-soluble antioxidant. It is a very powerful free radical quencher. This antioxidant is known to be an immune system strengthener and is very essential to maintain a strong immune system. Vitamin C helps regenerate vitamin E when it becomes a free radical. Vitamin C is also considered the hub of the antioxidant network, connecting the fat- soluble and water- soluble antioxidants. There is no known toxicity issue with this antioxidant. As vitamin C is water-soluble, excess can easily be eliminated through urine. Several studies have shown vitamin C to help suppress the replication of rhinovirus that causes stuffy nose during cold. Vitamin C assists in the formation of collagen, which is important for the formation of connective tissue and wound healing. This antioxidant has been found to decrease risk of cancer, heart disease, cataracts and other diseases. It is abundant in plant, also present in citrus fruits, cabbage, broccoli, cranberries, potatoes, tomatoes and red peppers.


Vitamin E: This is a fat-soluble antioxidant that must be obtained from food or supplements. Vitamin E travels through the body in molecules called lipoproteins and protects them from oxidation thus helping in the prevention of atherosclerosis which can eventually lead to heart disease. According to several recent studies, vitamin E has shown to reduce the risk of prostate cancer and also slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. This antioxidant is present in raw vegetable oils, nuts and nut butters, rice bran oil, barley and in some green leafy vegetables.

Lipoic Acid: This is one of the most versatile and powerful antioxidant of the antioxidant network. Lipoic acid can go through water-soluble as well as fat-soluble portion of the cells due to its unique structure. It is known to enhance the power of all the other network antioxidants. Lipoic acid is shown to breakdown sugar for energy production, which is used by the cells. This is the only antioxidant that can regenerate itself from free radical state back to antioxidant form and can greatly boosts the levels of glutathione. Lipoic acid turns off the bad genes that are known to accelerate aging and cause cancer and has also shown to reverse mushroom poisoning of the liver. This antioxidant is synthesized by the body and is also present in small amounts in spinach, potatoes and red meats.

Co Q 10:  This is a fat-soluble coenzyme that helps regenerate vitamin E in the antioxidant network. It is essential for energy production. Co Q 10 is shown to rejuvenate brain cells and may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. This antioxidant is used in the treatment of gum disease.  In 1971 Japanese researchers found lower than normal levels of CoQ10 in the gum tissues of the patients with gum disease. When CoQ10 was applied directly to the gum tissue or taken internally as a supplement it showed remarkable improvement and patients also showed rapid healing compared to those who didn’t take CoQ10 supplements. This outcome suggests that CoQ10 may be an effective treatment for gum disease. In the United States, patients undergoing periodontal surgery who took CoQ10 recovered three times faster then the patients who did not take Co Q10. CoQ10 is found in seafood and organ meats and it is also synthesized by the body but its production might decrease with age.

Glutathione: This is a water-soluble antioxidant produced by the body. Glutathione recycles vitamin C back to its antioxidant form. Levels of glutathione are boosted by lipoic acid. Glutathione helps in the detoxification of drugs and pollutants as well as maintains healthy liver function. Glutathione is involved in the storage and transport og the amino acids. It is present in large amounts in fruits, vegetables and freshly cooked meat but it is broken down during digestion.

** The above information is for educational purposes only. Consult your doctor for specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. **

The network boosters:

Flavonoids: Flavonoids are known to be the powerful free radical scavengers that boost the effectiveness of vitamin C in the antioxidant network. They are known to keep our heart healthy by preventing blood clots, by lowering high blood pressure and by protecting against the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. They also reduce inflammation and bolster the immune function. Flavonoids are not produced by the body but are compounds present in abundance in plants, fruits and vegetables. Ginkgo biloba and Pycnogenol are good source of flavonoids.

Carotenoids: Carotenoids are natural pigments found in both plants and animals. Alpha carotene, Beta-carotene, Cryptoxanthin, Lutein, Lycopene and Zeaxanthin all fall under the carotenoid category. High blood levels of carotenoids are found to protect against many types of cancers. Carotenoid Lycopene has been associated with lower rates of prostate cancer. Lutein and Zeaxanthin, two carotenoids found in the eye are shown to decrease the risk of macular degeneration and cataract. Beta-carotene is associated with boosting immune function in the elderly but mixed carotenoids may do it better. Dark leafy green vegetables and orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are good source of carotenoids. Cooked tomatoes are good source of Lycopene. According to certain researches, the researchers suspect that Lycopene is better absorbed when cooked with fat.

Selenium: This is not an antioxidant but it is known to work in synergy with vitamin E. Selenium protects against many cancers including lung, prostate and colon cancer. Selenium is required for the production of several enzymes that affect the antioxidant network. The enzymes are glutathione peroxidase, which recycles glutathione and thioredoxin reductase, which recycles vitamin C. Selenium is not produces by the body so must be obtained from food and water. Garlic, onions, wheat germ, red grapes, broccoli and egg yolks are good food sources of selenium.

CAUTION: Selenium is beneficial in small amount but can be toxic in high doses.

** The above information is for educational purposes only. Consult your doctor for specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. **

Dr Packer’s Basic Antioxidant cocktail plan

 

Dr Packer recommends taking the supplements in two doses.

A. M. Supplement Regimen                                     P.M Supplement Regimen

Vitamin E family

1 -100 mg tocotrienols

1- 200 mg mixed tocopherols

CoQ10

1- 30 mg CoQ10

Lipoic Acid

1- 50 mg lipoic acid

Vitamin C

1- 250 mg ester vitamin C

Folic Acid

1-     400 mcg folic acid

Biotin

1-     300 mcg biotin

Vitamin B6

 

1- 2 mg vitamin B6

Vitamin E family

1-     200 mg natural alpha tocopherol

Lipoic Acid

 

1-     50 mg lipoic acid

Vitamin C

1- 250 mg ester vitamin C

Ginkgo Biloba

1-     30 mg ginkgo biloba

Selenium

 

1- 200 mcg selenium

Supplement recommendation by Packer for people with special needs

Dr. packer recommends purchasing three different types of vitamin E: natural alpha tocopherol, mixed tocopherol and tocotrienols.


** The above information is for educational purposes only. Consult your doctor for specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. **

 

Antioxidant 7

 

 

 

Reference:

 

Packer, L & Colman, C. (1999). The Antioxidant Miracle. New York, U.S.A: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

 

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Hey nice blog.
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    Reply

  2. Posted by Janise Villatora on November 3, 2012 at 11:22 am

    CoQ10 is a great supplement because it helps cardiovascular health and has some anti-oxidant properties too. ..

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