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The secrets to optimal antioxidant support revealed

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Proper antioxidant support is a major key to optimum well-being. Adequate antioxidants in the body supports cardiovascular, cellular, joint, eye, respiratory and brain health to name a few.

To better understand the importance of antioxidants we have to understand how they interact with free radicals. Free radicals are very unstable molecules with unpaired electrons formed during normal metabolism, cellular processes and from external factors. Normally molecules have paired electrons to improve stability. When a molecule is missing a paired electron — as is the case with free radicals — it attacks the nearest stable molecule and steals an electron. The attacked molecule then becomes a free radical itself, which can quickly cascade resulting in the disruption of cellular function.

The body’s defense system against this cascade of events is antioxidants. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals by donating one of their own electrons preventing the free radical from stealing an electron. These defenders basically sacrifice themselves to protect your body from damage without becoming an electron-scavenging free-radical also.

Now, more isn’t always better, and this is the case with antioxidants, especially if it is too much of any single antioxidant. This was the case in a study reported on in the October 2011 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association that concluded taking vitamin E alone increased men’s risk of prostate cancer. The growing body of evidence suggests that supplementing with too much of any single isolated antioxidant can be worse for your health than getting too few antioxidants.

One of the major keys to optimal antioxidant support is balance. Antioxidant balance means consuming a wide variety of the major groups of antioxidants —

· vitamin C

· vitamin E complex (tocopherols/tocotrienols)

· carotenoids (astaxanthin, beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lutein, lycopene, beta-cryptoxanthin)

· thiols (sulphur-containing compounds like alpha lipoic acid, methylsulfonylmethane, glutathione and cysteine)

· enzymatic antioxidants (superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase)

· antioxidant coenzymes (PQQ and CoQ10)

· antioxidant minerals (selenium, zinc)

· biolflavanoids (polyphenols, xanthones, catechins, anthocyanins, flavones, isoflavones, flavonones)

· antioxidant hormones (melatonin, Vitamin D)

Forget the idea of taking large doses of a single antioxidant, no matter how powerful it is. Your cells need representatives from each of these antioxidant groups to mount the strongest defense against free radicals. Antioxidants work together and can greatly enhance the power of one another. For example, CoQ10 enhances the action of vitamin E, and alpha lipoic acid recycles vitamin C and glutathione back into their active antioxidant form.

Just as a healthy diet includes a variety of fruits and vegetables consisting of multiple colors, when you choose to supplement your diet with antioxidant supplements you should aim for a balanced mix of antioxidants from multiple sources. Think of it like a football team. Even if you have a star quarterback, he will not be effective without a supportive offensive line, receivers and running back. He may be able to make some big plays occasionally, but long-term you are not likely to win the game, or in this case the battle against free radicals.

The second significant key to optimal antioxidant support is antioxidant specificity. This is related to antioxidant balance, because certain antioxidants are better at supporting specific cells, organs and systems. To achieve optimum health you need antioxidants that support multiple cells, organs and systems. For example CoQ10 and resveratrol are excellent for the heart, ergothionene and turmeric are beneficial for the joints and PQQ and anthocyanins support brain health. So, you can see that obtaining a variety of antioxidants from both food and supplementation is necessary for optimum health.

In review, optimum levels of antioxidants are essential for optimum health. But, they need to be the right quantities, not extreme, but not inconsequential. Lastly, a variety of antioxidants that support a diversity of cells, organs and systems ensures you are targeting all aspects of your well-being.

When it comes to the secrets of antioxidant support balance and specificity are a crucial part of your strategic plan to achieve vigor and vitality. Here are just a few of the antioxidants that may help specific aspects of your well-being.

ANTIOXIDANT SPECIFICITY

ORGAN/SYSTEM

ANTIOXIDANT

Heart

CoQ10, resveratrol, vitamin E, beta-carotene, vitamin D.

Brain

Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ), astaxanthin, anthocyanins, resveratrol, L-carnatine.

Joints

Astaxanthin, anthocyanins, ergothioneine, turmeric, methylsulfonylmethane.

Skin

Astaxanthin, beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium.

Kidneys

Resveratrol, L-carnosine, silymarin, CoQ10, glutathione (GSH), superoxide dismutase (SOD).

Immune

Methylsulfonylmethane, vitamin C, vitamin D.

Eyes

Beta-carotene, astaxanthin, vitamin a, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, bilberry.

Liver

Lycopene, milk thistle, N-acetyl-cysteine, alpha lipoic acid, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E.

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