The Importance of Antioxidants
Over the past 2 editions we have looked at the components you should expect from a good multi-nutritional formula. I know of no other supplement to have such profound health benefits. The best products use top quality USA sourced ingredients and include these in meaningful amounts. We have discussed the importance of minerals and vitamins and today look at antioxidants.
All atoms have electrons and the tendency in nature is for electrons to be balanced. In biochemistry, when an atom or molecule has a missing electron it will take one from other atoms to make it stable. The atoms or molecule with a missing electron are called free radicals. These are either oxygen or nitrogen radicals. The technical term for free radicals is ROS (radical oxygen species).
In the body this process is the main way by which cells are damaged. Accumulated free radical damage is central to every disease process. Even the cell destruction in genetic disorders is mostly driven by increased free radical activity. To make it worse, inflammation and free radical damage go hand in hand. For example the inflammatory part of rheumatoid arthritis creates free radicals that then damage joint tissue.
Antioxidants are simply compounds found in food, or made in the body that have the ability to donate electrons to unbalanced free radicals. These have extra electrons that they donate thus preventing the chain of destruction caused by free radicals.
Inflammation and tissue damage
It is a bit of a chicken and egg discussion. Regardless whether inflammation or free radicals came first, the fact is that inflammation is always associated with free radicals.
As discussed in the September 4th edition the most important antioxidants are those made in our body from trace minerals. This is the main reason I include these in my multi formula. Co enzyme Q10 (ubiquinone) is another self-made antioxidant. While its main role is in energy processes CoQ10 has the ability to accept and donate electrons. I do not add CoQ10 to Cell-X as most people make all the CoQ10 they need.
Some people do need Co Q10. Those over 60, especially with declining energy should consider adding a high grade CoQ10. Those on cholesterol lowering medication should be taking this as the drug significantly reduces CoQ10 levels causing problems from muscle pain/weakness to declining mental health, motivation and memory. I use the highest grade US made CoQ10 in both my MTQ10 and CoQsol formulas.Those with neurodegenerative or autoimmune disease can benefit from extra CoQ10 as these diseases can negatively impact our cell mitochondria which is where our energy is made. MTQ10 in particular is a potent energy formula.
Some vitamins are also antioxidants. The most obvious are water soluble vitamin C and fat soluble vitamin E and vitamin A. I prefer beta carotene than straight vitamin A as the body then changes this to vitamin A as needed.
The most potent food sourced antioxidants belong to a group of food chemicals called phytochemicals. These are biologically active food compounds that often have significant antioxidant activity.
In terms of therapeutic use grape seed sourced proanthocyanidins (abbreviated to OPC) has the most profound effect. There are many OPC’s on the market. Many are extracted with solvents. My preferred one is the US made, naturally extracted ActiVin®.
There have many research papers on ActiVin® and it can help everything from poor circulation to respiratory problems, immune problems and premature skin aging. People spend a fortune on skin products but in my opinion nothing beats 100-200mg of ActiVin® daily to improve skin and prevent premature skin aging.
A good multi such as Cell-X should have all the main antioxidant groups and include the trace mineral especially selenium, zinc, iron, copper and manganese and the vitamin antioxidants as vitamins A (from beta carotene) and vitamins C and E. It should then have all the main phytochemical groups especially OPC, bilberry, green tea, hesperidin, lutein and lycopene. Try this for 3 months and you will notice the difference.
John Arts (B.Soc.Sci, Dip Tch, Adv.Dip.Nut.Med.) is a nutritional medicine practitioner and founder of Abundant Health. If you have questions or need help you can contact John 0800 423559. You can email John at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that the health advice given through this column is for general educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any health problem. © John Arts 2018