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How do Antioxidants Work?

I hear myself talking about antioxidants multiple times each day to clients. Vitamin C, vitamin E, glutathione, elderberry, the list goes on. But how do antioxidants work?

Antioxidants are a group of molecules that play a crucial role in maintaining cellular health and protecting our body from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the body's ability to neutralize them. These ROS, including free radicals, can damage cellular components like DNA, proteins, and lipids, leading to various health issues such as inflammation, aging, and chronic diseases.

Antioxidants work through intricate mechanisms to counteract the detrimental effects of oxidative stress. They have the capacity to donate electrons or hydrogen atoms to unstable ROS, effectively neutralizing them and preventing further cellular damage. Some antioxidants, like vitamin C and E, work in water-soluble and lipid-soluble environments respectively, making them versatile defenders against ROS in various cellular compartments. Enzymatic antioxidants such as superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase, are produced by the body and play a pivotal role in detoxifying ROS within cells.

The role of antioxidants extends beyond cellular protection. Research suggests that diets rich in antioxidants, primarily sourced from fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains, are associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, certain types of cancers, and neurodegenerative disorders. Antioxidants also play a vital role in supporting the immune system, which relies on a delicate balance between oxidative processes and antioxidant defenses. By combating oxidative stress, antioxidants contribute to overall well-being and longevity.

While antioxidants offer a plethora of health benefits, it's important to note that more is not always better. Excessive intake of antioxidant supplements, especially in high doses, can disrupt the delicate balance of oxidative processes in the body and potentially lead to adverse effects. Additionally, the best source of antioxidants is a balanced diet rich in a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Incorporating antioxidant-rich foods into one's diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle harnesses the protective power of antioxidants for optimal health. For more personalized recommendations, book a consult at

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