What are Antioxidants & free-radicals? Antioxidants effects on aging, weight loss, Immune system
Introduction to Antioxidant
“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.”
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?
It has been about 50 years only that even the word Antioxidant is being used.
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:
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.
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
- Eating an unhealthy diet
- Certain medications and/or treatments
- Excessive exercise
- Breathing deep and enough
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:
- Xanthine oxidase
- Arachidonate pathways
- Ischemia/reperfusion injury
- Some externally generated sources of free radicals are:
- Cigarette smoke
- Environmental pollutants
- Certain drugs, pesticides
- Industrial solvents
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.
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.
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.
Why may Antioxidant Supplements do not work as well as foods Work?
Good natural sources for Vitemin C, vitamin A and vitamin E as the most popular antioxidants:
Good Food Sources of Vitamin C (mg/serving)
|Orange juice, fresh squeezed||
|Grapefruit juice, fresh squeezed||
|Green peppers, raw chopped||
|Broccoli, raw chopped||
Good Food Sources of Vitamin E (mg/serving)
9.3 (13.9 IU)
5.8 (8.7 IU)
4.7 (7.0 IU)
3.3 (4.9 IU)
3.2 (4.8 IU)
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?
How can we get them?
Do natural sources work the same as supplements in terms of antioxidants?
What is the strongest antioxidant?
Is there a list of antioxidants?
Antioxidants are effective more in natural forms like food or pills/ tablets/ supplements?
What foods are high in antioxidants?
What do antioxidants do? or what are the benefits of antioxidants ?
Do antioxidants cure cancer?
Do antioxidants prevent cancer?
Are antioxidants the same 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
SYMPTOMS OF ADHD (ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER)
Metabolic issues in obesity
EYE DISORDERS AMD
INFLAMMATORY AND PAIN
AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES (RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS)
HIGH CHOLESTEROL (LDL BAD CHOLESTEROL)
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)
- Diseases of the Blood
- Endocrine Diseases
- 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)
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
Cerebral Infraction (stroke caused by blockage)
Myocardial infraction (heart attack)
Post Cardiac Arrest (resuscitated heart after the heart stopped)
- Mitochondrial Diseases
- Medication Induced
- Stress Induced
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
- Bacteria Infections
- Virus Infections
- Fungi Infections
- Protozoa Infections
- Helminths Infections
Do antioxidants help in weight loss? or Do antioxidants help us lose weight?
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