Dec 22, 2021 / Author: China Glutathione suppliers & NMN manufacturers
Some vitamins and minerals—including vitamins C and E and the minerals copper, zinc, and selenium—in addition to other important functions, can also act as antioxidants.
"Antioxidant" is a general term for any compound that can resist unstable molecules called free radicals, which can damage DNA, cell membranes, and other parts of cells. Since free radicals lack complete electrons, they can steal electrons from other molecules and damage these molecules in the process. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals by giving up some of their own electrons. In making this sacrifice, they act as a natural "off" switch for free radicals. This helps break the chain reaction that may affect other molecules in the cell and other cells in the body. But it is important to realize that the term "antioxidant" reflects a chemical property, not a specific nutritional property.
Although the nature of free radicals is harmful, they are an inevitable part of life. The body produces free radicals in response to environmental damage, such as tobacco smoke, ultraviolet light, and air pollution, but they are also natural by-products of normal cell processes. For example, when the immune system assembles to fight invaders, the oxygen it uses will release a lot of free radicals, which can destroy viruses, bacteria, and damaged body cells in an oxidative explosion. Some normal free radicals are also produced during exercise. In order to induce some of the beneficial effects of regular physical activity, such as sensitizing muscle cells to insulin, this seems necessary.
Since free radicals are so common, you need sufficient antioxidants to disarm them. Your body's cells naturally produce some powerful antioxidants, such as lipoic acid and glutathione. The food you eat provides other antioxidants, such as vitamin C and E. Plants are full of compounds called phytochemicals — literally "phytochemicals" — many of which also seem to have antioxidant properties. For example, after vitamin C "suppresses" free radicals by donating electrons to free radicals, a phytochemical called hesperetin (found in oranges and other citrus fruits) restores vitamin C to its active antioxidant form . Carotenoids (such as lycopene in tomatoes and lutein in kale) and flavonoids (such as flavanols in cocoa, anthocyanins in blueberries, quercetin in apples and onions).
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