Antioxidants are substances which occur naturally in food and are used by the body to neutralise or “mop up” free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive compounds that are created in the body during normal metabolic functions or enter the body from the environment. They are inherently unstable, since they contain “extra” energy. To reduce their energy load, free radicals react with certain chemicals in the body, and in the process, interfere with the cells’ ability to function normally. Antioxidants protect us from this free radical damage and may help reduce the risk of a variety of degenerative illnesses.
Environmental sources of free radicals include exposure to ionizing radiation from industry, sun exposure, cosmic rays, and medical X-rays, ozone and nitrous oxide from car exhausts, heavy metals mercury, cadmium, and lead, cigarette smoke (both active and passive), alcohol, trans and hydrogenated fat.
|Cholesterol||Colds and coughs||Deep vein thrombosis|
|Psoriasis||Rheumatoid arthritis||Varicose veins|
There are many vitamins, minerals, amino acids and herbs that have antioxidant and therefore protective properties for different parts of the body. Eating a diet rich in building blocks of antioxidants may be the best way to provide the body with the most complete protection against free radical damage. Ensure that you eat at least 4 to 5 portions of fruit and vegetables daily
A good antioxidant complex will contain carotenoids, Vitamin C & E, Coenzyme Q10, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Cysteine, Selenium, Zinc, Copper, Manganese plus antioxidant herbs such as bilberry, turmeric, grapeseed or pine bark extract.
At the time of writing there were no well known negative drug interactions with antioxidants.
Generally, there are no side effects or contra-indications from using antioxidants.