Antioxidents and Free Radicals Explained

by admin on July 10, 2009

As more people talk about antioxidants and free radicals, it is easy to become confused at all of this new jargon? Just what is an antioxidant? Are free radicals really that dangerous? It is becoming impossible to buy anything from make-up to vitamins without running into either of these phrases? But what do they really mean?

This article will define both antioxidants and free radicals and give you important information to assist you in maintaining proper immune system function and overall health. The two terms go hand-in-hand, and it is important to fully understand both.

Antioxidants Explained

Your body actually contains and manufactures its own antioxidants, but sometimes, it can become deficient. This is why it is important to eat foods rich in antioxidants, to help your body continue to fight off the harmful effects of free radicals. In some cases, it may be necessary to add supplements rich in antioxidants.

Antioxidants function by reducing the amount of energy that is produced by free radicals and by stopping them from forming entirely. They are also responsible for putting a halt to the chain reaction caused by oxidation, hence the name anti-oxidant.

You can find antioxidant rich reserves in vitamin C, beta carotene, lutein, lycopene, zinc, copper, manganese, vitamin B12, cysteine and coenzyme Q10. Herbs, such as bilberry, grape seed extract, gingko and curcumin also contain high levels of antioxidants.

Now that you know how an antioxidant works, it’s essential to understand why they are so important in stopping free radicals.

Free Radicals Explained

A free radical is defined as a highly reactive compound that releases excess energy. These compounds are present in the human body, and may also enter in from the environment. Free radicals can come from the sun, cosmic emissions such as solar flares, x-rays, cigarette smoke both passive and active, alcohol, exhaust, and the ozone.

When your body is besieged by free radicals, they begin to interact with the chemicals found in your body, preventing normal cell functions. This can lead to many problems, and even cancer or atherosclerosis.

In order to prevent the damage caused by free radicals, you need to have enough antioxidants in your body to fight them back.

If you are frequently exposed to environmental free radicals, or free radicals found in mercury, lead and cadmium, it is even more important to supplement your body’s antioxidant levels to protect your cells from damage.

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