Glutathione the mother of antioxidants, but how helpful can it really be as a supplement?

What are Antioxidants & free-radicals? Antioxidants effects on aging, weight loss, Immune system

What are Antioxidants & free-radicals? Antioxidants effects on aging, weight loss, Immune system

Introduction to Antioxidant

Antioxidant
an·ti·ox·i·dant
ˌan(t)ēˈäksədənt,ˌanˌtīˈäksədənt/

“a substance that inhibits oxidation, especially one used to counteract the deterioration of stored food products. a substance that removes potentially damaging oxidizing agents in a living organism.”
What are Antioxidants & free-radicals? Antioxidants effects on aging, weight loss, Immune system
First thing that comes up in google search is what you see above. But what it really means that it removes potentially damaging oxidizing agents? what do the oxidizing agents do? what antioxidants do to them? how it helps our body with aging? how is it related to aging? Do antioxidants help your body in weight loss processes? How? Do they really keeps us young? are they same as anti-inflammatory substances? 



Lets take a closer look to the whole concept of Antioxidants.

It has been about 50 years only that even the word Antioxidant is being used. 

What are Antioxidants & free-radicals? Antioxidants effects on aging, weight loss, Immune system

The human body by its self naturally produces free radicals and the antioxidants to counteract their damaging effects, its something our body is aware of and has some solutions for it. However, in most cases, free radicals far outnumber the naturally occurring antioxidants and thats why we see that it could expedite aging and health issues. But what are free radicals? for a short answer: 

 What are Antioxidants & free-radicals? Antioxidants effects on aging, weight loss, Immune system

Free Radicals and Oxidative Damage



Human body need oxygen for its chemical activities and in order to live. the simple act of breathing is the start of the formation of highly reactive molecules called free radicals. Free radicals interact with other molecules in the body as they are in blood and metabolism, they cause Oxidative Damage. 

What are Antioxidants & free-radicals? Antioxidants effects on aging, weight loss, Immune system



Oxidative damage can result the development of a wide range of illnesses and diseases or increasing the possibility of illness by effecting the immune system. Oxidative stress occurs when the production of reactive oxygen is greater than the body’s ability to detoxify and clean the reactive intermediates. This imbalance as mentioned before leads to oxidative damage to proteins, molecules, and genes within the body. when proteins start being damaged means now all your body is in danger cause not only your muscles but all of cell’s functions even DNA functions are done by different kinds of protein. But the free radical intensity does not only depend on the body it self it depends a lot on many factor and behaviors that we  can control. Some external body causes could increase the free radicals and the damage they have on our body like:

  • Smoking (first or second hand)
  • Excessive exposure to UV rays
  • Pollution
  • Eating an unhealthy diet
  • Certain medications and/or treatments
  • Excessive exercise
  • Breathing deep and enough



What are Antioxidants & free-radicals? Antioxidants effects on aging, weight loss, Immune system


How Free Radicals are Formed



Normally, in our body bonds dont lag, they dont split in a way that leaves a molecule with an odd (unstable condition or harmful situation), unpaired electron. But when weak bonds split, free radicals are formed. Free radicals are very unstable it means they can react and bond quickly with many potentialities and affect quickly the other compounds, trying to capture the needed electron to gain stability. 

Some internally generated sources of free radicals are:

  • Mitochondria
  • Xanthine oxidase
  • Peroxisomes
  • Inflammation
  • Phagocytosis
  • Arachidonate pathways
  • Exercise
  • Ischemia/reperfusion injury
  • Some externally generated sources of free radicals are:
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Environmental pollutants
  • Radiation
  • Certain drugs, pesticides
  • Industrial solvents
  • Ozone


Generally, free radicals attack (try to bond and become stable) the nearest stable molecule, “stealing” its electron. When the “attacked” molecule loses its electron, it becomes a free radical itself and causing this in a mass scale in body by beginning a chain reaction. Once the process is started, it can cascade, finally resulting in the disruption of a living cell. Cells are smallest stable and almost independent units in our body. every and each one of them are playing an important role in what an organ and bigger part does. It means they are independent but they also work as a team and they communicate, so if something goes wrong in one specially in RNA/DNA level it will spread. they communicate with substances and some other factors so many effects that free radicals have can be very local and at the same time in whole body.


What are Antioxidants & free-radicals? Antioxidants effects on aging, weight loss, Immune system

Our body sometimes uses the free radicals. basically our body pretty much knows what they are and some free radicals arise normally during metabolism. Sometimes the body immune systems cells or white blood cells purposefully create them to neutralize viruses and bacteria, well that is as smart as it can get. However, environmental factors such as pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke and herbicides can also increase free radicals unnaturally. Usually The body handles free radicals, but if antioxidants are unavailable, or if the free-radical production becomes excessive, damage can occur. 


Of particular importance is that free radical damage accumulates with age. Yes aging can be expedited by free radicals. they make your body an unsafe place to live for cells. they interfere with metabolism and damage the immune system and their number one scary result can be cancer. 


Antioxidants Counteract Oxidative Stress and Free Radicals
The body is aware of its substances it naturally produces antioxidants like superoxide dismutase, catalase, or peroxidase enzymes, as a means of defending itself against free radicals. The antioxidants neutralize the free radicals, so makes them harmless to other cells. Antioxidants can repair damaged molecules in body by donating hydrogen atoms to them. Some antioxidants even have a chelating effect on free radical production that’s catalyzed by heavy metals. In this situation, the antioxidant contains the heavy metal molecules so strongly that the chemical reaction necessary to create a
free radical never occurs. When these kinds of antioxidants are water-soluble, it also causes the removal of the heavy metals from the body via the urine. for example Astaxanthin is in some cases considered nature’s most powerful antioxidant in foods and also available in pills and supplements now.



What are Antioxidants & free-radicals? Antioxidants effects on aging, weight loss, Immune system

Different Types of Antioxidants

 

All the antioxidants are different and function different. Astaxanthin is actually a lipid-soluble antioxidant, while resveratrol is a water-soluble antioxidant And Each type of them function in its own way. antioxidants can be categorized in tow different ways, as a matter of fact three but molecular size is not an effective issue in terms of choosing what to take for you.


1. Antioxidants can be categorized basically in two categories:

 

Soluble in lipids/fat (hydrophobic) or water (hydrophilic). Both of them are neede in body in order to protect your cells. basically because body cells have both environments in them and as a matter of facts the interior of your cells and the fluid between them are composed of water, while the cell membranes themselves are mostly made of fat. The free radicals can strike both the watery cell contents or the fatty cellular membrane. Lipid-soluble antioxidants are the ones that protect your cell membranes from lipid peroxidation. Some examples of lipid-soluble antioxidants are vitamins A and E, carotenoids, and lipoic acid. Water-soluble antioxidants are found in aqueous fluids, like your blood and the fluids examples of water-soluble antioxidants are vitamin C, polyphenols, and glutathione.


2. They can also be categorized in another way as enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants:


Enzymatic antioxidants benefit you by breaking down the structure of the free radicals and removing free radicals from your system. They can flush out dangerous oxidative products by converting them into hydrogen peroxide, then into water and gone you are free of free radicals.

Non-enzymatic antioxidants benefit you by interrupting free radical chain reactions that is another way to block them from damaging the whole environment. Some examples are carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin E, plant polyphenols, and glutathione (GSH). Most antioxidants found in supplements and foods are non-enzymatic.



What are Antioxidants & free-radicals? Antioxidants effects on aging, weight loss, Immune system

 
What are Antioxidants & free-radicals? Antioxidants effects on aging, weight loss, Immune systemAstaxanthin has an especially high propensity for absorbing the excess energy from singlet oxygen, releasing it as heat, and returning the oxygen (and itself) back to its original state. This process is known as “quenching.”  Because of very different structures of all the molecules we call antioxidants the actual chemical procedure is different and the effectiveness and the way they can help the body is different. 

Why may Antioxidant Supplements do not work as well as foods Work?

Some Clinical and scientific studies of antioxidant supplements have not found them to be as effective as expected. Researchers have suggested several reasons:
 
> The Antioxidant beneficial health effects of a diet high in vegetables and fruits or other antioxidant-rich foods may actually be caused by other substances. that we dont know about them.
 
> Problem with doses. The effects of the large doses of antioxidants used in supplementation studies may be different from the smaller doses in natural foods.
 
> Differences in the chemical composition of antioxidants, For example, eight chemical forms of vitamin E are present in natural foods. but only two in Vitamin E supplements like alpha-tocopherol. Alpha-tocopherol also has been used in almost all research studies on vitamin E.


ALPHA - LIPOIC ACID What are Antioxidants & free-radicals? Antioxidants effects on aging, weight loss, Immune system

Good natural sources for Vitemin C, vitamin A and vitamin E as the most popular antioxidants:


Good Food Sources of Vitamin C (mg/serving)

Food
Amount
Vitamin C
Orange juice, fresh squeezed
1 cup
124
Grapefruit juice, fresh squeezed
1 cup
94
Papaya
1/2 medium
94
Cantaloupe
1/4 melon
86
Orange
1 medium
80
Green peppers, raw chopped
1/2 cup
67
Tomato juice
1 cup
44
Strawberries
1/2 cup
43
Broccoli, raw chopped
1/2 cup
41
Grapefruit
1/2 medium
40
Source: USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 13
 

Good Food Sources of Vitamin E (mg/serving)

Food
Amount
Vitamin E
Almonds
1/4 cup
9.3 (13.9 IU)
Sunflower seeds
1/4 cup
5.8 (8.7 IU)
Safflower oil
1 tbsp
4.7 (7.0 IU)
Peanuts
1/4 cup
3.3 (4.9 IU)
Peanut butter
2 tbsp
3.2 (4.8 IU)
Corn oil
1 tbsp
2.8 (4.2 IU)

Good Food Sources of Vitamin A  


Food                                                      mcg RAE perserving    IU per serving   Percent DV*


Sweet potato, baked in skin, 1 whole        1,403               28,058         561

Beef liver, pan fried, 3 ounces                   6,5822             2,175          444
Spinach, frozen, boiled, ½ cup                  5731                1,458          229
Carrots, raw, ½ cup                                 459                  9,189          184
Pumpkin pie,  1 piece                              488                   3,743          249
Cantaloupe, raw, ½ cup                           135                   2,706          54
Peppers, sweet, red, raw, ½ cup               117                   2,332          47
Mangos, raw, 1 whole                              112                   2,240          45
Black-eyed peas (cowpeas),boiled, 1 cup   66                     1,305          26
Apricots, dried, sulfured, 10 halves            63                    1,261          25
Broccoli, boiled, ½ cup                              60                    1,208          24
Ice cream, French vanilla, soft serve, 1 cup 278                 1,014           20
Cheese, ricotta, part skim, 1 cup                263                  945             19
Tomato juice, canned, ¾ cup                     42                    821             16
Herring, Atlantic, pickled, 3 ounces            219                   731            15



Some important questions about antioxidants:

 


Where are antioxidants? 

 
They are naturally in foods and vegetables and fruits. some of them have more some less but still they are the best source comparing to supplements. Means eating fish regularly is better that fish oil supplements only. 
 

How can we get them? 

 
IN foods and vegetables and fruits. Also available in supplements. but in some cases it is better to take the natural option than just the pill.
 

Do natural sources work the same as supplements in terms of antioxidants? 

 
In some cases ye sand some no. 
 

What is the strongest antioxidant?

 
I n some cases they say its DHA fish oil and in some cases Astaxanthin in terms of effects in what part of cell or body. And in some cases olive extracts also has been mentioned. For example DHA in fish oils improve the brain plasticity/ BDNF and is the best in therms of brain aging. but it is different in all the body.
 

Is there a list of antioxidants?

 
Yes you can find a complete list of antioxidants in our website: antioxidants list
 

Antioxidants are effective more in natural forms like food or pills/ tablets/ supplements? 

 
The researches has shown that it depends on the issue and on the antioxidant substance. in some cases because of the different doses and absorbent quality the food id much better and in some cases it can be the same. 
 

What foods are high in antioxidants?

 
Fish, fish oils, vegetables, fruits and so on are the natural sources. there are also extracts in supplements that can do the job in some cases. 
 

What do antioxidants do? or what are the benefits of antioxidants ?

 
Just read the article please
 

Do antioxidants cure cancer? 

 
No, not exactly. but they can improve the symptoms and reduce the possibility of getting cancer.
 

Do antioxidants prevent cancer?

 
In many researches the free radicals are the ones causing cancer or increasing the chance to get cancer but if you get enough antioxidants for sure you are reducing the chance of cancer. it does apply to many cancer types but to all.
 

Are antioxidants the same as vitamins? 

 
Yes an some cases like vitamin E or C or A. but not all of them are considered as vitamins. 
 

 

Which diseases can be healed and/or cured by antioxidants?

It is not limited to these diseases or body conditions but these are the most associated ones with antioxidants

 

This can be a very small and useful list of them but in fact as mentioned antioxidants are substances fighting Degenerative Diseases effecting both immune system and DNA in many levels this list of Degenerative Diseases can also be considered.

Categorization of Degenerative Diseases

  • Neoplasms (divisions of mutated cells)

               – Examples:

                Cancer

                Tumor

  • Diseases of the Blood
  • Endocrine Diseases

                – Examples:

                 Thyroidism

  • Metabolic Syndrome (is a cluster of conditions – high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat (typically around the waist) and high level of bad cholesterol or low level of good cholesterol)

               – Examples:

                  Diabetes 

                  Hyperlipidemia (high level of fats in the blood)

                  Arteriosclerosis (thickening and hardening of artery walls)

                  Fatty Liver (build up of fats in the liver)

                  Hypertension (high blood pressure)

                  Obesity (being over weight)

  • Diseases of the Nervous System
  • Diseases of the Eye and Adnexa
  • Diseases of the Ear and Mastoid Process
  • Diseases of the Circulatory System
  • Diseases of the Respiratory System
  • Diseases of the Skin and Subcutaneous Tissue
  • Diseases of the Musculoskeletal System and Connective Tissue
  • Diseases of the Genitourinary System
  • Ischemia (restriction or cut-off of blood supply)/reperfusion (restoration of blood supply) injuries

                – Examples:

                   Cerebral Infraction (stroke caused by blockage)

                   Myocardial infraction (heart attack)

                   Organ transplant 

                   Post Cardiac Arrest (resuscitated heart after the heart stopped)

  • Mitochondrial Diseases
  • Aging

                – Examples:

                   Wrinkles,

                   Freckles

  • Hemodialysis

                – Examples:

                   Cystisis

  • Inflammation

                – Examples:

                  Rhematoid arthritis

                  Wound healing

                  Bowel disease

  • Neuroprotection

                – Examples:

                   Dementia

                   Parkinson Disease

                   Depression

  • Medication Induced

               – Examples:

                  Anesthetia

                  Radiatheraphy

                 Chemotheraphy

  • Stress Induced

               – Examples:

                 Exercise

                 Fatigue

Antioxidants Also Combat Infectious Diseases in basically two main ways:


1- Building or maintaining very healthy immune cells to fight the invasion
2- Countering the cell damages caused by the invasions/infections

 
And this is a good list of diseases caused by infections that can be improved by antioxidants and the most popular one whit fighting infections is vitamin C.


  • Bacteria Infections
               – Examples:
                 Strep throat
                 Tuberculosis
                 Urinary tract infections (UTI)
  • Virus Infections
               – Examples:   
                  AIDS
                 Common cold
                 Ebola hemorrhagic fever
                 Genital herpes
                 Influenza
                Measles
                Chickenpox and shingles
  • Fungi Infections
              – Examples:
                 Thrush
                 Athlete’s foot
                 Ringworm
  • Protozoa Infections
                – Examples:
                  Giardia
                  Malaria
                  Toxoplasmosis
  • Helminths Infections
                – Examples:
                   Tapeworm infection
                   Roundworms infection
                   Heartworms infection

Do antioxidants help in weight loss? or Do antioxidants help us lose weight?

 
Yes and NO. Well Not exactly, the antioxidants effectdoes not directly effect your body fat. But help a lot in body metabolism that can be said that it indirectly helps with losing weights by iproving body metabolism and blod stream.
but it is very important to know that many fruits and also extracts that are considered for their antioxidants effects has shown in researches that they also have benefits in loosing weight like Vitamin E or Green Tea and so on.











Sources in web and scientific articles on antioxidants, free radicals and oxidation:


nutrex-hawaii.com

news-medical.net
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
cancer.gov
google.com
simplyantioxidant.com

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

Some handy articles on antioxidants, free radicals and oxidation:
 
 

 

list of articles:

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