Antioxidants got a bad rap last year. A couple of well-publicized studies ran again and again in journals, blogs, newspapers, online postings, and more with the following grim headlines:
- Vitamin C, E supplements Won’t Help Prevent Cancer
- Prostate Cancer Prevention Study Shows No Benefit from Selenium and Vitamin E Supplements
But before you go doubting the value of your antioxidant friends, you should know about dozens of studies getting near zero press over the last few years, such as:
- Antioxidants Appear to Relieve Pain in Chronic Pancreatitis
- Vitamin C May Improve Blood Pressure: Study
- Grape Seed Extract Linked to Apoptosis in Leukemia
With regard specifically to cancer, Dr. Rodier’s 2007 Blog on the subject gives you a few (hundred) more citations on the proven positive benefits of antioxidant intake:
“Despite lots of evidence through the years that very good diets, and the antioxidants therein are helpful to prevent and treat cancer, poor studies still come out once in a while that not only reflect a very poor understanding of nutrition but what antioxidants really are, and how they function.” — Hugo Rodier, M.D.
For those of you who made it this far (or have issues sleeping), here’s a good scientific review of antioxidants.
Oxidation and Cellular Health
Respiration is the basic function of inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide — without it, cells cease to exist. The energy required to power individual cells comes from the chemical energy stored in foods. That energy is released in a multi-step chemical reaction where a food source is oxidized to form carbon dioxide and water.
This oxidation reaction is constantly occurring in mitochondria that exist inside your cells. Thus all living cells in the human body are taking in oxygen and giving off carbon dioxide just as you are breathing in and out as you read this article.
If oxidation is the fundamental source of cellular energy then why is it necessary to take antioxidants?
Free Radical Formation
While oxidation reactions are the primary source of cellular energy, unwanted oxidation can also occur inside living cells leading to free radical formation. This occurs as a normal byproduct of respiration where 2 to 5% of available oxygen is converted to free radicals.
Environmental toxins from pollution, radiation and heavy metals can greatly increase this oxidative stress. Free radicals are formed in an oxidative reaction where a single electron is ripped from a stable molecule converting that molecule to a highly unstable free radical.
Electrons always want to exist in pairs so when a single electron is taken away, the molecule with the unpaired electron (the free radical) will try and steal an electron from another molecule. This begins a chain reaction of free radical formation that can rip through cells damaging cell membranes, proteins and DNA by altering their chemical structure.
Just as rust can cause premature aging of your car, free radical damage can cause premature aging of your cells and ultimately your body!
Antioxidants Protect Against Free Radicals
Luckily, there is a class of molecules called antioxidants able to neutralize or “scavenge” free radicals. Antioxidants have the amazing ability to donate an electron without becoming a free radical, thus halting the vicious electron-stealing chain reaction!
Antioxidants not only neutralize free radicals, they can also minimize the formation of new free radicals and repair some of the damage from oxidation!
In the modern world where pollutants are constant, it is vital that you arm your body with antioxidants to combat the damaging effects of unwanted oxidation and free radical formation.
Antioxidant-Packed Co-op Products
A Variety of Antioxidants are Necessary to Maintain Constant Cellular Health
It is important to have a variety of antioxidants in your diet since different antioxidant molecules work in different compartments of the cell or in different places in the body.
For example: vitamin C is water soluble and protects against free radicals in the aqueous intracellular fluid whereas vitamin E is fat soluble and therefore can protect against oxidation in cellular membranes.
Eating a balanced diet including fresh fruits and vegetables and taking supplements like Constant Health can supply your body with the antioxidants needed to fight dangerous free radicals and maintain cellular health.
Constant Health Provides a Suite of Powerful Antioxidants
Many vitamin and mineral nutrients have powerful antioxidant properties. Many plants also have unique phytonutrients that function as antioxidants. Constant Health contains both nutrient and phytonutrient antioxidants.