time for the fourth post in the supplements 101 series!
today’s supplement of interest is antioxidants.
similar to a multivitamin, i believe that a daily antioxidant supplement should be a part of everyone’s daily routine.
the reason antioxidants are so important is that they protect us from free radicals. free radicals are formed when oxidation occurs (aka when our cells come into contact with oxygen). this happens in many circumstances including when we are exposed to smoke or when we digest food.
free radicals are basically molecules with an extra electron on them, which makes them able to do some major damage at the cellular level. antioxidants are able to “neutralize” free radicals and can carry the extra electron stably, without damaging our cells.
you can get antioxidants from fruits and vegetables, but cooking may damage the antioxidants, so you can’t be sure that you’re getting the full benefits. raw fruits and vegetables (blueberries, oranges, spinach…) are a great source of antioxidants, though!
if you are looking for more of an antioxidant punch, especially if you’re exposed to a lot of environmental toxins that lead to free-radical formation, antioxidant supplements can be a great option.
common antioxidant supplements are vitamin c, vitamin e, lipoic acid, and carotenoids. i am partial to lipoic acid, though. in addition to its antioxidant benefits, lipoic acid has shown some potential for improving insulin control in diabetics, weight loss, and even prevention of alzheimer’s disease. more research is necessary, but i am convinced that lipoic acid (and antioxidants in general!) is beneficial.
again, supplements are generally considered safe. however, it is very important to keep a couple things in mind.
- supplements will not take the place of a good diet. think of them as something additional you do to full the gaps in your healthy diet.
- always discuss your supplement use with your doctor.
- don’t overdose on your supplements! do your research and find out what the upper limit is for your nutrient of interest. if you take your supplements as directed on the label, you should not overdose.
- when it comes to supplements, you get what you pay for. please choose a good-quality brand from a health-foods store or other specialty store. those options that are 2 for $6 at target/walgreens/etc., while tempting and budget-friendly, are likely not manufactured well, absorbed well, or providing any health benefits.
all information presented here is what i have learned in my own research. i am not a licensed health professional and this information is not meant to take the place of medical advice. always speak with your doctor before taking any supplements.
the series is winding down – only one post left: what i take!
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what do you think about antioxidants?
i think antioxidant supplementation is probably one of the most controversial topics in supplements. people seem to be very split on whether they think antioxidant supplements can help with all sorts of ailments or if they think they actually harm you!
you guys know which camp i fall into…Pin It