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What are Antioxidants? Do Antioxidant Supplements Really Work?

Updated on September 15, 2014

Interview with the Doctor

What the Dr. Says About Antioxidants

During my recent sit-down with Dr. Brandon Wood, a Clearwater, Florida Chiropractor and, well, health nut, I asked him what he thought about antioxidants. Here is his response:

Q: Thanks for sitting with me Dr. Wood. Can you tell me what are antioxidants and should I take them?

A: Everyone should absolutely take antioxidants. Antioxidants assist the body maintain health and fight illness. Think of antioxidants as your personal arsenal against disease, age-related problems and maintaining general health and a strong immune system. The average American falls far short of consuming enough of the foods rich in antioxidants on a regular basis. Depleted soils are also playing a role in decreased nutrition in our fruits and vegetables.

Q: Which antioxidants should I take?

A: As with any supplement, there are numerous antioxidants available on the market. Look for formulas that have the following:

  • High bio-availability (readily absorbed)
  • Antioxidants should come from manufacturers with GMP certification
  • Antioxidant formulas that are prescription grade.
  • Don't cheap out on your antioxidants, quality is important and you want the best antioxidant supplements to achieve maximum results.

Obviously you won't take every single antioxidant supplement, but look for the support you need, as various antioxidants provide different support for your health. Provide the support where you need it most, at the very least. Include antioxidant-rich foods in your diet as well.

Q: Can you give me names and benefits of specific antioxidants to consider?

A: Sure, some of the best antioxidants and their functions are:

Astaxanthin: Increases strength and stamina and reduces recovery time. Shown to reduce fatigue and eye strain. Improves your skin quality and supports your cardiovascular system. Found in lobster, shrimp, rainbow trout, salmon and crawfish.

Chromium: Chromium boosts your immune system, helps maintain proper cholesterol levels and protects DNA and RNA. Found in whole grains, broccoli, mushrooms, beef, calf liver and eggs.

Co Enzyme Q10 (CoQ10): CoQ10 Supports a healthy immune system, promotes cardiovascular health and helps to maintain brain health. CoQ10 is involved in Mitochondrial energy production (ATP). Found in higher levels in beef hearts, chicken hearts and pork hearts and sardines. I find more patients would rather supplement with CoQ10.

Flavonoids: Enhances your cellular antioxidant defenses and contributes to maintaining heart health. Studies suggest that diets high in flavonoids reduce risk of cancer and heart disease. Found in teas, dark color berries.

Lutein: Important for eye health and may help prevent and treat macular degeneration. Lutient improves your skin's elasticity and hydration. Found in egg yolks and animal fats.

Lycopene: Supports prostate health, prevents age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Found in tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit and more.

Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins (OPCs): Highly effective anti inflammatory. OPCs support your heart health, immune health and a healthy complexion. Found in red wine and grape seed extract, it is combined with pycnogenol in the OPC-3 formula I recommend.

Polyphenols: Improves cellular antioxidant defenses and contributes to the maintenance of your heart health. Found in apples, apricots, black and red currants, blackberries, blueberries, choke berries, cranberries, dates, kiwi and more.

Pycnogenol: Pycnogenol actually stimulates the production of antioxidant enzymes within your cells and boosts the immune system. Pycnogenol supports cardiovascular health. Pycnogenol is a patented formula, derived from pine bark extract. I recommend this to every one of my patients. OPC-3 formula contains the highest bio-availability on the market because it is the only formula that comes in an isotonic form.

Selenium: Helps maintain healthy eyes, hair and skin and reduces the risk of heart disease. Selenium can be destroyed during food processing, so if you are eating a diet full of processed foods, you may be low in selenium. I recommend everyone take a selenium supplement. Selenium works in conjunction with other nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin C, B3 and Vitamin E.

Sulforaphane: This phytochemical enhances the detoxification of undesirable compounds and improves your cellular antioxidant defenses. Found in broccoli.

Vitamin A: Supports healthy vision, healthy immune system and healthy inflammatory responses. Helps with eye lubrication, lowers cholesterol and helps to repair tissue. Found in sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, collard greens.

Vitamin C: Helps improve your mood, helps to resist infection, protects the skin from UV damage and reduces inflammation. Researchers are currently examining Vitamin C levels in people who have suffered a stroke. Some studies suggest that individuals who suffer a stroke have low levels of vitamin C, compared to individuals who have never suffered a stroke. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, broccoli and strawberries.

Vitamin E: Vitamin E is your primary defender against oxidation. It protects your skin from the sun, accelerates cell regeneration and improves your immune function. found in wheat germ oil, sunflower seeds, safflower oil, hazelnuts, peanuts, avocado, shrimp, sardines and asparagus.

Zeaxanthin: Excellent for your eyes, Zeaxanthin helps to protect your eyes from UV damage, prevents free-radical damage to your eyes' retina and lens. Found in Kale, chard, spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, radicchio.

Zinc: Shortens the duration of the common cold, strengthens your immune system and improves stress levels. Found in oysters, beef, pork, lobster, some cereals.

There are any number of books available regarding foods that are antioxidant-rich. Include as many of the antioxidant-rich foods in your daily diet as possible and use the best antioxidant supplements you can find. You will feel the difference.

Q: Are there scientific studies to support the claims of health benefits of taking antioxidant supplements?

A: Yes - there are hundreds of published studies indicating the benefits of taking antioxidants.

Dr Oz Discusses Antioxidants

Boost Glutathione

Eating a health, plant-based diets, rich in antioxidants, will help strengthen your immune system. If you are looking for a supplement to help, try Curcumin Extreme.

Antioxidant Supplements do Improve Health

Antioxidants do appear to benefit our overall health, protect us against disease and strengthen our immune systems. After reviewing hundreds of scientific studies, I'm confident the doctor is correct in recommending antioxidants be taken by all of his patients.

Do your children take vitamins?

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