HOW ANTIOXIDANTS WORK IN THE BODY?
In this article, you will get to know about what is antioxidant, How antioxidants work in the body, source of Astaxanthin etc. All the basic information regarding antioxidants has been elucidated in brief.
WHAT ARE ANTIOXIDANTS?
The antioxidant can be defined as any substance which when present in a very small amount compared with that of any oxidizable substrate prevents or delay the oxidation of that substrate.
OXYGEN’S DUEL NATURE (FRIEND AND FOE):
Almost every life on earth depends upon oxygen (with the exception of anaerobic organisms, like some fungi and bacteria). As the aerobic organism depends upon oxygen, they thrive in the presence of oxygen.
Oxygen is the essential element for breathing as well as respiration. Despite these beneficial aspects, it has some destructive nature too. Oxygen produces reactive oxygen species or free radicals and thus damage cells of the living organisms. And to protect the body from the damaging effects of free radicals the role of antioxidant comes in existence.
HOW ANTIOXIDANTS WORK IN THE BODY?
The most widely known antioxidants are Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Beta-carotene. Others include glutathione, lipoic acid, melatonin and complex network of antioxidant-enzymes.
These antioxidants prevent or slow down the oxidative damage to the components within cells. Such as DNA and Proteins. This is mainly done by terminating the chain reaction of cell-damaging free radicals and by the inhibition of other oxidation reaction.
There are some antioxidants which are recycled by the body and are thus able to use again. Others are referred to as suicidal which cannot be recycled.
Glutathione is an antioxidant which the body produces on its own.
However, there are other antioxidants that human body cannot produce Vitamin-C, Vitamin E etc, must be supplemented by food.
FOOD AND ANTIOXIDANTS:
Antioxidants are mainly added to the food for preventing them from the deleterious effects of oxidation. And also antioxidants are used as a dietary supplement to neutralize the adverse effects of oxidative stress.
Primarily, most of the antioxidants come from plant origin and belong to the phenolic and polyphenolic class of compounds as well as carotenoids and antioxidants vitamins.
How the antioxidants works are determined by the structural features of the molecules involved. The system in which they are present as well as storage and processing condition also matters.
Research has been carried out to determine RDI (recommended daily intake) of antioxidants as vitamins. For example, green tea, rosemary, and some other species or their extracts like tocopherols are often used in food as flavouring agents or used as other forms.
There are some synthetic antioxidants such as Butylated Hydroxy Anisole (BHA), Propyl-Gallate(PG) and Tert-Butyl-Hydroquinone(TBHQ), these are the commonly used antioxidants used in food items.
The main purpose of adding antioxidants in food items is to preserve the lipid components from quality deterioration.
But it is suspected that these synthetic antioxidants may promote carcinogenesis, so there is a huge demand for natural antioxidants.
Antioxidants are very helpful in defending the body against cardiovascular diseases, cancer, arthritis, and diabetes.
There are some herbs and species which are known to be the source of natural antioxidants. And by consuming these herbs we can provide our body with the right amount of antioxidants.
INTERACTIONS BETWEEN ANTIOXIDANTS USED IN FOOD PRESERVATIVES:
In food items, antioxidants are present either as natural or synthetic. Which may interact with themselves and results in synergistic, additive and antagonistic interactions.
For e.g. vitamin-C and vitamin-E act as natural antioxidants. Whereas polyphenols and carotenoids are known as phytochemical antioxidants.
When combined together produce synergistic effects and thus it is helpful to be used in food systems. Therefore, the combinations of natural antioxidants with synergistic outcomes are used commonly nowadays.
THE NEXT GENERATION ANTIOXIDANT- ASTAXANTHIN:
It is known to us that vitamin-C and Vitamin-E are powerful antioxidants.
But what if there was a substance which is 550 times stronger than Vitamin-E and 6000 times stronger than Vitamin-C. And that substance is none other than Astaxanthin.
If there is only one next-generation antioxidant to be considered then it would be Astaxanthin.
MAIN SOURCE OF ASTAXANTHIN:
It is found in certain types of sea plants: microalgae. It is known to be the most powerful antioxidants present in nature.
It is known that microalgae are not a part of the human diet. And it is not possible to consume many pounds of microalgae per day to get the appropriate dosage of Astaxanthin. So, if it could be replaced by a single pill of 3-6mg then it would be more convenient for all of us.
Astaxanthin is also found in trout, shrimp, and Pacific salmon. For those who consume fish and seafood can get some amount of astaxanthin in their diet.
BENEFIT OF ANTIOXIDANTS:
- Antioxidants help us to fight against ageing, cancer and chronic disease.
- They keep us safe from the harmful effects of free radicals.
THE DISADVANTAGE OF ANTIOXIDANT SUPPLEMENT:
- Antioxidants supplements somehow prevent the body from making its own natural antioxidants.
- They do not have the sole power to cure all our ailments.
- If taken in a high amount they act as pro-oxidants. For e.g. Vitamin-C as an antioxidant when taken in a high amount it not only reacts with free radicals but also with other molecules of the body and act as a pro-oxidant.
- So last but not the least it can be said that antioxidants should be taken from natural sources. And not much as supplements or as medicines.
READ THIS ARTICLE: TOP 20 ANTIOXIDANT-RICH FOOD ITEMS.