Also known as free radical scavengers, antioxidants work to reduce the incidence of free radical species. Health benefits include the prevention of chronic degenerative diseases. Antioxidants are naturally found in food and are also available as dietary supplements and botanical products. Some the main ones include: Alpha-lipoic acid, Bilberry, CoenzymeQ10, Cysteine, Ginkgo biloba, Glutathione, Grape Seed Extract, Green Tea, Milk Thistle, Pycnogenol, Selenium, Superoxide Dismutase, Beta Carotene (and other Carotenoids) Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Zinc.
Refer to individual antioxidants.
The ability of Beta Carotene (pro-Vitamin A) to protect against certain cancers in humans has been well documented. The use of beta-carotene to treat light-triggered pathologies possibly mediated by a singlet oxygen radical has been successful.
Some very strong antioxidants, such as milk thistle, can benefit patients with liver disease, including Cirrhosis, chronic Hepatitis, and fatty infiltration of the liver due to alcohol or other toxins. These antioxidants can increase basal levels of reduced glutathione (GSH) in the liver by 35%. They also prevent GSH depletion by alcohol and liver toxins. (1,2)
Vitamin E, the best-documented free radical scavenger, may increase tolerance during strenuous exercise. Studies have shown that one form of vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol, enhances the endurance of rats performing heavy exercise. Alpha-tocopherol may protect against the lipid peroxides that are normally produced under heavy physical exertion. Together with Selenium, vitamin E protects against oxidative stress. (3,4)
Free radical scavenging:
Superoxide dismutase (SOD) circulates extracellularly and scavenges superoxide anion radicals. As a metallo enzyme, it requires adequate concentrations of metals, such as Zinc, Copper, and Manganese.
Asthma and Hay Fever:
Antioxidants may be beneficial for asthma and Hay Fever patients due to their ability to strengthen the Immune System. A suggested combination of antioxidants includes vitamin C (5) with Quercetin, vitamin E, and selenium.
Toxicity varies with different antioxidants. Please refer to individual antioxidants for specific information.
Particular caution should be taken with butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) supplements (6,7,8,9). BHT and BHA are two common food preservatives that are "generally recognised as safe" (GRAS) by the FDA.
INTERACTIONS AND CONTRA-INDICATIONS
Please refer to individual antioxidants for specific information.
Antioxidants, Grape Seed and Wrinkles
The aim of the present study was to quantify the effects on skin in post-menopausal women of a dietary supplement that contained soy extract and extracts from white tea, grape seed, tomato, vitamins C and E as well as zinc and camomile extract.
The study was a 6 month double blind, placebo controlled, randomised study on healthy post-menopausal females. In summary this novel dietary supplement provides improved condition, structure and firmness of the skin in post menopausal women after 6 months.
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 3 May 2006.
1. Hikino, H. , Y. Kiso, H. Wagner & A. Fiebig. Antihepatotoxic actions of favanolignans from Silybum marianum fruits. Planta Medica. 1984. 50; 248-250.
2. Wagner, H. Plant constituents with antihepatotoxic activity. Natural Products as Medicinal Agents. J. L. Beal & R. Reinhard. eds. Hippokrates-verlag: Stuttgart, 1981.
3. Burton, G. W. , A. Joyce, & K. V. Ingold. First proof that Vitamin E is a major lipid-soluble, chain-breaking antioxidant in human blood plasma. Lancet. 1982. II; 327.
4. Dillard, C. J. et aL. Effects of exercise, Vitamin E, and ozone on pulmonary function and lipid peroxidation. JAP. 1978. 45; 927-932.
5. Walji, Hasnain. 1995, Nutrients For Health - Vitamin C . Thorsons - Harper Collins, London.
6. Babich, H. Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) - a review. EnvIron Res. 1982. 29; 1-29.
BHT, BHA. Editorial, Int J Biosocial Res. 1983. 4(2); 61.
7. Clapp, N. K. , L. C. Satterfield & N. D. Bowles. Effects of the antioxidant butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) on mortality in BALB/c mice. J GerontoL. 1979. 34; 497-501.
8. Stokes, J. & C. Scudder. The effects of butylated hydoxyanisole and butylated hydroxytolulene on behavioral development of mice. Develop PsychobioL. 1974. 7; 343-350.
9. Vorhees, C. V. , R. E. Butcher, R. L. Brunner & T. Sobotka. Developmental neurobehavioral toxicity of butylated hydroxtoluene in rats. Food Cosmet ToxicoL. 1981. 19; 153-162.
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