If you ever wondered why an apple turns brown after you cut it, or why iron rusts when exposed to the elements, you are questioning the damage and destructive effects of (free radicals) normally found in the environment.
Oxidation causes similar harm to the cells of your body. When you breath, digest food, exercise or just sleep, your body produces potentially harmful agents called free radicals. The free-radical chain reactions in your body take place countless times each day. To make matters worse, emotional stress, ultraviolet light and toxic substances in air pollution and cigarette smoke also generate free radicals that can put your health at risk. Fortunately, nature offers the means to protect yourself against the hazards of oxidation by-products. You can call on powerful allies, known as antioxidants, that work in opposition to free radicals. Researchers have found that antioxidants inhibit and control free radicals.
To minimise the damaging effects of free-radicals, a balance of antioxidants is required. The most important antioxidants include carotenoids such as beta-carotene, vitamin C, Vitamin E, tocotrienol, NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine), glutathione, L-cysteine and components found in certain herbs such as ginkgo biloba, bilberry, red wine (grape skins) and green tea. The minerals zinc and selenium are crucial components of important antioxidant enzyme systems in the body. While steps should be taken to ensure adequate dietary sources, additional supplementation to provide optimal intake may be desirable.
Here at Healthplus and Walsh’s Pharmacy, we believe wholeheartedly in preventative healthcare measures, such as taking supplements when indicated. The best source of nutrition is through our food intake, but sometimes it is not possible to have access to antioxidant-rich, pesticide-free fresh fruit and vegetables. If you are working in an environment that exposes you to pollution of any kind, are under emotional stress, or if you are not getting enough sleep, exercise, or fresh air, then taking antioxidants at regular intervals (perhaps every other day) will help your body to deal with the resulting free-radical chain reactions occuring daily in your body.
Resources: Solgar Desk Reference 2011