by Frederick Cheng, R.Ph., and Christine Cheng, R.Ph.
Anti-oxidants are free-radical fighters. Free-radicals are unstable atoms or molecules which have at least one unpaired electron. They are highly reactive and attempt to stabilize themselves by seeking out the missing electron in cells, which can cause lasting damage to the cells and tissues. They have been implicated in various diseases, including diabetes, cancer, cataracts, and cardiovascular diseases. Thus, they are regarded by some as the agent responsible for aging of body systems. Inflammation, exercise, and general mitochondrial metabolism are all examples of natural processes that lead to free-radical formation, while smoking, radiation, and pesticides are common out-side factors leading to free-radical formation. Anti-oxidants are theorized to neutralize free-radicals to render them harmless in the body. In effect, they can help reduce inflammation, maximize immunity, minimize stress on organ systems, and benefit your heart and joints.
Natural sources of anti-oxidants include fruits, vegetables, and plant-based whole foods. It is ideal to steam or blanch veggies slightly prior to consuming, as this will breakdown the indigestible plant cell-wall and release the desirable nutrients within. However, take care not to over-heat veggies, as that would destroy those same nutrients, including anti-oxidants.
Supplementation is often advisable. One major reason is that we should all be eliminating inadvertent sources of sugar from our diet, such as excess fruits, lentils, carrots, and tomatoes, which are all rich in anti-oxidants, but also high in unwanted sugars. Vitamin C and E are common anti-oxidants that we supplement with. It is important to source quality ingredients from reputable brands to ensure you are getting exactly what you want inside your body, especially when anti-oxidants are typically taken in relatively large quantities. You can even get buffered formulations that will not effect the pH-balance of your body. Sisu’s “Ester-C” and Thorne’s “Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids” are excellent choices.
Quercetin is often used for respiratory health. Co-Enzyme Q10 is often used for metabolic or muscle stress, such as in cardiac or cholesterol patients. Both these molecules are also strong anti-oxidants that can be purchased on their own, or in synergistic formulations combined with other nutrients such as selenium, green-tea extract, berry extract, bromelain, grapeseed extract, etc., in products such as AOR’s “Antioxidant Synergy”, New Roots Herbal’s “Vitamin C8”, or Sisu’s “Ester-C Supreme”, each of which contain some (not all) of the listed nutrients. Omega Alpha’s “Anti-Aging Beauty” is a new formulation that incorporates 11 anti-oxidants into a single capsule for multi-organ protection.
Come chat with integrative pharmacists, Fred Cheng, Christine Cheng, and their integrative teams at Cloverdale Pharmasave or Pharmasave Steveston Village for details on how to choose the most suitable anti-oxidant for you.
Christine and Fred Cheng are a passionate, charismatic sister-brother pharmacist team at their unique, family-operated Pharmasave stores in Cloverdale and Steveston, B.C. They specialize in natural remedies and compounding for both human and veterinarian use. Find them on Instagram and Facebook! Everything mentioned in their article is available InStore.
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