Antioxidant Reference Guide

Everybody's heard of them. They're in the news regularly. Antioxidants are the celebrities of the supplement world.

Antioxidant Reference Guide

Everybody's Heard of Them. They're In the News Regularly. Antioxidants Are the Celebrities of the Supplement World.

Antioxidant supplements come inmany forms, including powders,tablets, capsules, soft gels, liquid extracts, and teas. They can be purchased as single ingredients or as preformulated combinations.

Here are just a few of the many antioxidants available at your local health store.

ACES is the acronym used for a combination of the original antioxidant ensemble of vitamins A, C, and E, and the mineral selenium. This nutrient combo is designed to hunt down and destroy free-radical scavengers and help neutralize toxic metals. Choose a formulation that includes natural source beta carotene and other natural carotenoids. Also make certain the vitamin E is a natural complex with tocotrienols.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid, or ALA (not to be confused with alpha-linolenic acid, which is an omega-3 fatty acid; or alpha-linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid), plays a critical role in the production of glutathione, a special molecule produced by the body that prevents damage to cells by neutralizing harmful substances and carcinogens (cancer-causing compounds). Recent studies in neurological journals are praising ALA for its effect as “a potent neuroprotective antioxidant” and as a “new treatment option for Alzheimer’s disease.”

Berries and Berry Extracts, including blueberries, bilberries, blackberries, strawberries, and cranberries are concentrated sources of antioxidant phytochemicals. They include ellagic acid, anthocyanins, and pterostilbene, all of which affect metabolic processes that decrease the risk of developing cancer and heart disease. Berries are especially protective of the eyes, heart, and brain.

Cocoa has been revered by Central American cultures for many centuries. In the last 10 years, dark cocoa (chocolate) has been elevated to super-antioxidant status. Studies show it specifically reduces inflammation and the risk of heart disease.

Grapeseed Extract contains antioxidant proanthocyanidins, which rejuvenate the body’s antioxidant system while protecting blood vessels, preventing arteriosclerosis, reducing allergies, and decreasing aging. Several studies have reported that grapeseed extract normalized and enhanced antioxidant defences while decreasing free-radical damage in the central nervous system.

Resveratrol, an antioxidant-rich substance derived from red grape skins, has been shown to promote a longer, disease-free life. Resveratrol is thought to be one of the reasons for the so-called “French Paradox,” the fact that the French enjoy better heart health than Americans, despite their high fat intake. Researchers in France also concluded that constituents in resveratrol represent potent antitumour agents, while Chinese scientists showed that resveratrol had protective, anti-inflammatory effects on the brain.

Tea (Camellia sinensis) is not just the world’s most popular beverage. Green, black, white, and oolong teas are also potent sources of a wide range of antioxidant polyphenols. In extract or tea form, they deliver a therapeutic dose of cellular protection against heart disease, arthritis, cancer, and aging.

Other Antioxidants Include:

  • the carotenoids lutein,zeaxanthin, and astaxanthin
  • citrus bioflavonoids
  • coenzyme Q10
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • hesperidin
  • inositol (a B vitamin) and IP6 (inositol hexaphosphate, a derivative of inositol)
  • lycopene
  • N-acetylcysteine
  • pine bark extract
  • quercetin
  • sulphoraphane (from broccoli)
  • zinc

Of course, don’t forget the many antioxidant culinary spices–basil, rosemary, oregano, thyme, turmeric, cumin, ginger, and cinnamon.

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