Our bodies are extremely complex structures and numerous complex chemical reactions continue to be performed in them throughout the day. There are complex biochemistries of the body, each of which is in a delicate balance. If this balance is toppled, it can cause diseases and disorders. Antioxidants are a group of organic substances which include many of the vital vitamins that we consume on a daily basis. Some of the most important antioxidants in the body are vitamins A, C and E and selenium, which is a mineral. Most of the antioxidant supplements that you buy from drug stores contain these vitamins and minerals. Carotenoids are some of the other common antioxidants in our body. These carotenoids are pigmented compounds. These are the pigments that give fruits and vegetables their respective colors. Since these pigments are required to maintain the health of a person, it is important to include fruits and vegetables of all colors into your palate.
The main function of antioxidants is to remove the free oxygen radicals that form as byproducts of the biochemical reactions occurring in the body. If not removed, these free oxygen radicals can cause cancerous growths in the body. If left alone, the free radicals can cause severe damage to cell walls, causing irreparable damage to the organs. They also have the capability of altering the genetic material within the cells and other cell structures. Such sustained damage can lead to serious diseases. The anti oxidants can destroy free radicals before they have a chance of causing harm to the body and are useful in the prevention of cancers, strokes, and heart diseases.
Antioxidant dietary supplements are commonly available as over the counter drugs. However, they are also available naturally in many foods. Since antioxidant vitamins can also serve well to remove the free oxygen radicals, vitamin C supplements can also be used as antioxidants. There have been many studies that have shown that smokers who consume a diet which is rich in carotenoids, have a lower chance of developing lung cancer. These can also help lower the chances of breast cancer. Vitamin C alone has been found to prevent the formation of cancer causing nitrate compounds in the body. One can consume antioxidants from many naturally available foods. Most fruits and vegetables have certain vitamins that act as antioxidants. Vitamins A, C and E are all useful antioxidants. Beta-carotene is another potent antioxidant. Therefore the consumption of fruits and vegetables in the diet is very important to stock the body with antioxidants. This will help to minimize free radical damage that might take place from time to time. Antioxidant supplements are used with the purpose of promoting health because it is believed that antioxidant supplements can help to reduce the effects of free radicals. However, recent medical studies have revealed that there is evidence to suggest that the consumption of antioxidant supplements is actually bad for the health of the individual. What is interesting is that the previously believed antioxidant supplements benefits do not actually occur in patients. It has been found that natural antioxidants work to do the job of neutralizing free radicals quite effectively. Studies have found that there are no antioxidant supplements benefits for people suffering from heart disease, to use an example. Instead, such individuals may suffer from similar or heightened rates of mortality. This is completely counter-productive as it leads to a situation where the individual is actually suffering as a result of his or her consumption of antioxidant supplements.
Health care specialists have also found that the elderly and individuals with problems of immunity can also benefit a lot from taking antioxidant supplements on a daily basis. Those who smoke a lot or consume high amounts of alcohol and those who have been suffering from a long term disease can also benefit greatly from taking antioxidant supplements. These supplements can not only prevent cancers, but also many other life threatening diseases.
There are several antioxidant enzymes that the human body produces naturally. Some of these are the superoxide dismutase, catalase, and peroxidase. These enzymes are useful in destroying stray oxygen radicals. Apart from the antioxidant vitamins supplement, these enzymes are also found in the form of supplements. These enzymes can be orally administered in the form of pills. However, their absorption is very minimal and therefore they lose out to the vitamin antioxidant supplements like vitamin C supplements. To make these enzyme supplements more effective, other supplements such as manganese, copper, and zinc also have to be consumed. In addition to these, other supplements can be successfully used as anti oxidants. Some of these are lutein, cysteine, lycopene, and coenxyme Q10. Some herbs like bilberry, gingko biloba, grape seed, milk thistle, and green teas also contain compounds that act as effective antioxidants. Most experts agree that the best way to give the body protection from free radicals is to consume a variety of antioxidants.