Antioxidant Function in Our Bodies

October 26th, 2012 · 1 Comment · Antioxidant

“Antioxidant” and “free-radical” are terms that have been commonplace in the discussion of natural health for many years now. There are countless supplements and fruit extracts that claim to be revolutionary in the field, and are reported to have the highest “ORAC” (oxygen-radical-absorption-capacity) of any product yet available. But what is an “antioxidant,” and what function do they perform in your body?

First we need to cover some very basic chemistry (scary, I know!). For those of you who aren’t already scientists, or haven’t taken a chemistry class in years, atoms and molecules have the potential to be magnetically charged. This is determined by the ratio of positive and negative particles they contain. The outside “shell” of an atom is where the “electrons,” or negatively charged particles reside. When they are in balance with the inner positive particles, or “protons,” the atom is magnetically neutral. A neutral atom or molecule is much less likely to interact with its neighbors.

This is where oxidation and free-radicals come into the picture… “Oxidation” simply means the transfer of some electrons or occasionally an entire hydrogen atom away from a substance, a “Free-Radical” is the particle created when this happens. The free-radical, recently having its electrons taken from it, wants to find more to fill the gap. It will take them from wherever it can, presumably the next molecule it encounters, which will then spread the reaction. A common example of this is when an oil or fat turns rancid, or a sliced apple browns. An “Anti-Oxidant” is something that gets in the way of this all happening, usually by having some “extra” electrons to give to any free-radical seeking them out. Oxidative damage can affect all portions of the body and lead to cellular damage or death; you have many systems to combat this.

Uric acid is the most common anti-oxidant found in humans. It is produced naturally through many physiological functions of the body, but there are some others that we need to get from our food or supplementation, such as vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin E. Most fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants and are the preferred source, but supplementing with glutathione, melatonin, and superoxide dismutase (found in Kroeger’s Cell Fit) can also be beneficial.

It may seem counterintuitive that oxygen is required for life, but “oxidation” is bad. This is because of oxygen’s powerful energy transferring ability, which is carefully controlled by your body’s systems. (Just as stomach acid is critical to your wellbeing but you wouldn’t want it outside of your digestive tract).

Ensuring you have enough antioxidants in your diet can help keep you healthy and happy! Check out other posts concerning Cell Fit and some of Kroeger’s powerful antioxidants like Resveratrol Six and Turmeric.



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One Comment so far ↓

  • Natalie

    Great explanation about how oxidation works! Love the blog. I am entering the Nordic Naturals contest.

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