Archive for the ‘ANTIOXIDANTS’ Category


Saturday, November 27th, 2010



The market is filled with food supplements said to contain antioxidants. Since its discovery, antioxidants have been creating waves in the food supplement industry with more and more companies manufacturing the supplement every year and new discoveries of foods that has high antioxidant properties. It’s not something to be surprised about since awareness of diseases linked to cellular damage is growing and people are becoming more conscious of their health.

Basically, it is thought that the more antioxidants you take in, the less chance for you to develop diseases. The number of evidence that supports the health properties of antioxidants may be preliminary but different studies are gathering more proof.  On a recent study, the anti-inflammatory properties of antioxidants had been found to lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Antioxidant against Oxidative Stress

The production of antioxidants is a naturally occurring phenomenon. Terrestrial plants adapted to their environment by producing the first known antioxidant: Vitamin C. This was thought to have occurred during the Jurassic period. The word antioxidant was originally used to refer to chemicals that inhibited the consumption of oxygen. In the early 20th century, numerous studies were dedicated to the discovery of antioxidants to prevent the fouling of vehicular engines, polymerization of fuels, vulcanization of rubber, and the corrosion of metal. All these actions are caused primarily by oxidation. In the human body, a similar phenomenon occurs wherein body cells suffer from oxidative stress.

Antioxidants to Lower the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

A recent study conducted by the Catholic University of San Antonio in Spain found that drinking beverages rich in antioxidants can reduce the level of the amino acid homocysteine and counteract its inflammatory effects that results to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Daily consumption of antioxidant-rich drinks for eight months was linked to a lower increase in the levels of homocysteine compared to a group that was given placebo drink. The study published in the Journal of Neurological Sciences showed that study participants showed lower levels of the inflammatory substance compared to that of the control group. Improved results were also observed in participants with moderate Alzheimer’s.

The researchers said that their primary finding was that patients who drank the beverage showed lower production of homocysteine. Though the researchers admitted that further study is needed in order to link the disease to the overproduction of homocysteine, they said that the inflammatory effects of the compound can be a significant marker to Alzheimer’s disease risk. They added that the compound’s high concentrations in the brain had been long linked to the development of the disease and it’s just a matter of time before the exact reason can be fully established. Previous studies have shown that homocysteine concentrations affect cognitive functions in older people.

Details of the Study

The scientists based in Murcia gathered a group of 100 women in a double-blind, randomized, controlled clinical trial. More than a half of the participants were considered healthy with no condition associated to the disease. On the other hand, 48 of the participants have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease; half are in an early-onset stage while the other half has moderate Alzheimer’s.

The three groups were randomly assigned to a specific supplementary intervention. A group received a placebo beverage for a period of eight months while the rest was asked to drink antioxidant rich beverage. The beverage contained polyphenols which is known to have a strong antioxidant property. It was formulated with vitamin B and C, green tea extracts, apple juice and lemon concentrate.

Natural Sources of Antioxidants

  • Vitamin C is the most bioavailable in all recorded antioxidants. It is produced naturally by plants in order to combat the oxidative damage that accompanies their food-making process known as photosynthesis. Vitamin C is water soluble and is largely manufactured as ascorbic acid for dietary supplementation. The richest sources of Vitamin C are fruits and vegetables and a few of them are guava, lime, orange, tomato, cabbage, spinach, cauliflower, potatoes and radish.
  • Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin and is one of the most potent antioxidants. The vitamin inhibits cellular damage and inflammation caused by free radicals. Rich sources of vitamin E are green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, broccoli, carrot juice, mixed nuts, tomatoes, vegetable oil, almonds and sunflower seeds.
  • Beta-carotene is a food nutrient with a strong antioxidant property. It’s a carotenoid – the plant pigment responsible for the green, yellow, orange and red coloration of some fruits and vegetables. When taken inside the body, beta-carotene is metabolized in the form of vitamin A and serves as a powerful antioxidant and helps the immune system ward off diseases more effectively. The richest sources of beta-carotene are broccoli, romaine lettuce, cantaloupe, fresh thyme, cilantro, collard greens, winter squash, turnip greens, spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes and kale.
  • Lycopene has been the focus of scientific studies for the past years. It’s the pigmentation in plants that gives them their distinctive reddish color. This includes watermelons, grapefruit and tomatoes. Lycopene is a strong antioxidant and several studies suggest that a diet rich in lycopene can result to a lowered risk of developing disease caused by free radicals and oxidative stress. Tomato is the richest readily-available source of lycopene. Heat-treated tomato products have been found to contain more lycopene than the fresh variant.
  • Flavonoids have also been found by several studies around the world to exhibit strong antioxidant properties but with limitation to in vitro observations. Further studies are yet to be conducted regarding the antioxidant property of flavonoids in a live body. Despite that, the compound shows significant indication in scavenging free radicals. The rich sources of flavonoids are orange juice, cranberry, celery, endive, broccoli, green beans, kale and onions.
  • Selenium is important in supporting the proper functions of enzymes and some of these have important antioxidant functions. A person with insufficient levels of selenium in the body has more susceptibility to oxidative stress. Since selenium is toxic when ingested in high dosage, it is highly recommended that selenium should be taken only through the consumption of natural sources like fruits and vegetables. Rich sources of selenium are sea foods, wheat germ and bran, brazil nuts, broccoli, cabbage, brown rice, chicken, celery, cucumbers, corn, dairy products, organ meats, sesame seeds and mushrooms.
  • Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha