Antioxidant Supplements – As Good As Natural Antioxidants?

It is now a common knowledge that antioxidants are beneficial for your health. There are two ways to make sure that you get your intake of antioxidants. One is to include foods rich in antioxidants in your everyday diet. Another is to take an antioxidant supplement. Which way is better? Do antioxidant dietary supplements provide the same benefits to your health as natural antioxidants?

The market is full of antioxidant pills, drinks and other products that all claim to have anti-aging effect and even protect you from cancer. Many of them have minerals and vitamins that are intended to straighten your immune system, and generally have a positive effect on your health.

Antioxidant food supplements are not a recent discovery

Antioxidant supplements have been on the market for a very long time. Only they were not called that. Every time you take a Vitamin C, Vitamin A or Vitamin E supplement, you are taking an antioxidant. They have gained a tremendous popularity in recent years, because now it is scientifically proved that antioxidants can prevent many types of cancer.

Vitamin C supplement is an antioxidant

One of the most powerful antioxidants is actually a good old Vitamin C that also protects us from common cold. Vitamin C supplements are inexpensive and easy to find. So here is your first antioxidant supplement, even if it is not called that way on the jar. Also don’t forget about natural sources of Vitamin C, such as oranges, grapefruits, grape and their juices.

Vitamin C is the only water soluble vitamin, so it is nearly impossible to overdose on it. 500 mg daily is considered an optimum dose. When drinking packaged orange juice, check the label. Many juice companies add additional vitamin C to their juices, so quite often a single glass of orange juice a day can be sufficient for your antioxidant vitamin C intake.

Vitamin A and E supplements

Vitamin A, beta carotene and Vitamin E are also strong antioxidants. Many foods contain these vitamins, and they also come in a supplement form. Cheaper supplements are synthetic, more expensive ones are derived from natural sources, like grape seeds. Some scientists argue that synthetic antioxidants are as good as the natural ones. But majority of doctors recommend natural antioxidant supplements to their patients.

American Heart Association doesn’t consider supplements beneficial

Antioxidants are very beneficial not only to prevent cancer, but also to prevent many heart deceases. American Heart Association doesn’t approve of taking antioxidant vitamin supplements to improve your health. They believe that natural antioxidant foods are better. American Heart Association argues that there is no evidence that antioxidant supplements provide cardiovascular protection.

Their studies revealed that our body doesn’t absorb antioxidant supplements as well as it absorbs natural vitamins from fruits and vegetables. So vitamins supplement don’t do you any harm, but they don’t bring too much benefit either.

Other doctors, on the other hand, argue that antioxidant supplements are beneficial for your health. A supplement can help you have a proper antioxidant intake even if you don’t get it with food.

While doctors still argue, it make sense to include as much of antioxidant food in your diet as your can. Especially that most fruits are not only a rich antioxidant source, but they are also high in fiber and low in fat. So you shouldn’t try to replace natural sources of antioxidants with supplements. However, it is a good idea to take an additional antioxidant supplement as well, because with a level of pollution and stress in modern life your body needs all the help it can get.

Antioxidant Supplements – How Do They Benefit Your Health?

As we grow older and are exposed to external factors like pollutants, radiation and chemicals, our bodies accumulate more damage resulting from the proliferation of free radicals. These molecules are also produced as a normal byproduct of our body’s metabolic processes. They carry single, unpaired electrons that are like bad guys on a rampage, attacking other molecules to rob them of their electrons by a process known as oxidation.

This starts a chain reaction that damages cell membranes, proteins and DNA, creating massive oxidative damage to the cell. To some extent, our bodies have the resources to arrest and repair some of this damage. But as we grow older, it accumulates causing aging, wrinkles, inflammation and diseases like cancer, dementia and heart disease.

Antioxidants are molecules that neutralize free radicals and stop the chain reaction. When present in sufficient amounts, they can combat and reverse some of these harmful effects. That’s why antioxidants have been found to be of benefit in many diseases ranging from Parkinson’s disease to cancer, heart disease, diabetes and arthritis.

In fact, antioxidants can benefit even a healthy person and help them combat the damage caused by substances and processes that generate free radicals in the body. Here are some of the documented ways that a good antioxidant supplement can help you.

* Protects cells from oxidative damage
* Slows the aging process
* Heals inflammation and joint pain
* Boost immunity and prevent autoimmune diseases
* Prevent cancer
* Prevent heart disease

So how do antioxidants do all these things?

By mopping up free radicals, antioxidants can prevent oxidative damage due to UV radiation, sun exposure, pollution, pesticides, cigarette smoke and other modern environmental stressors. Since we are all exposed to higher levels of these stressors, a good supplement can boost our defenses against such factors.

Oxidative damage has been indicated in a number of ailments. Antioxidants such as Vitamin C, E and A, can actually prevent many of the symptoms of aging, reducing wrinkles and protect skin from sun damage. Antioxidants have been helpful in preventing age-related macular damage and cataracts.

Some experts believe that inflammation is also a cause of aging. Antioxidants such as alpha-lipoic acid and glutathione are recommended as part of anti-inflammatory diets and have been found to reduce wrinkles and give the skin a youthful look. Some such as Vitamin E and C are used to protect cartilage in inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and joint pain.

Multivitamin supplements, beta carotene, Vitamins C and E, can reduce levels of inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein and interleukin-6. In addition, they have systemic effects that boost the body’s defenses and support the optimal functioning of the immune system. A healthy immune response is crucial in preventing inflammation, allergies, cancer and autoimmune disease.

They also play an important role in preventing heart disease. Vitamin E, for instance, was found to restore of normal endothelial function in people with early atherosclerosis and protect the myocardium (heart membrane) from ischaemic damage. Antioxidants such as glutathione are essential for brain and respiratory function and have been used successfully to treat Parkinson’s disease (IV glutathione), prevent stroke-related damage, and treat asthma and allergies.

Taking antioxidant supplements has become an essential part of protecting your body from the effects of modern living. Before you take any supplements, discuss it with your physician and find a high-quality product that meets all your needs.

Cancer Drug Treatment – PARP Inhibitors

Very soon an universal drug to treat all type of cancerous tumors may be developed. Scientists have claimed a breakthrough in turning a breast cancer to a medicine that treat all types of cancerous tumors. The focus is on cancer drug therapy based on class of pharmaceuticals called PARP inhibitors. PARP stands for Poly ADP ribose polymerase is a protein molecule which plays an active role in various cellular processes, DNA repair and programmed cell death. PARP inhibitors are particularly effective in treating hereditary breast cancers. PARP inhibitors have the ability to zero in on rouge cells and tumors and kill them selectively without harming the healthy cells. This also means that the side effects that is normally associated with radiotherapy or chemotherapy is very minimal with this type of pharmaceuticals.

In those prone to or with hereditary form of breast cancer there is mutation or flaw in the genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2. BRCA1 is a gene that produces a type of proteins called breast cancer type 1 susceptibility protein. They are normally expressed in the cells of breast and some other organs. Whenever there is a damage to DNA of the cells in these organs BRCA1 immediately repairs this DNA damage or if it cannot be repaired it kills the cells. Thus cancerous tumors are killed at the very early stage itself. The function of BRCA2 gene too is more or less similar though the molecular structure is different. BRCA2 stands for Breast Cancer 2 susceptibility protein. It’s main function is to repair the chromosomal damage and fix the breaks in the DNA structure. Thus it can be seen that proper functioning of these two genes are very important to protect us against breast cancer. Whenever there is a flaw in these two genes which is mainly due to hereditary reasons the person is at a huge risk of contracting breast cancer.

In breast cancer tumors with BRCA mutation drugs that inhibit Poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors cause double strand break in the cells. Because of BRCA deficiency these cannot be repaired. This leads to the death of cancerous cells. Normal cells do not replicate the way cancer cells do so the normal cells are not affected by PARP inhibitors.

The same principle is applied by scientists to use PARP inhibitors to treat tumors which do not have this genetic flaw but by artificially inducing such a genetic flaw. CDK1 or Cyclin dependent kinase 1 is a protein that is very vital in maintaining normal cell cycle process. It repairs any damage to the DNA of the cells. By blocking the CDK1 molecule the tumors are deprived of the DNA repair mechanism. When the subject is given PARP inhibitors the cancerous tumor was successfully shrunk. Scientists have effectively treated lung cancer in rats using this method.

Maintaining Health and Beauty – Are Antioxidant Supplements the Answer?

In many aspects of life, including health and beauty, everyone seems to resort to shortcuts and instant remedies. Unhealthy lifestyles contribute largely to the destruction of our bodies and we seem to have come to the stage when we turn to instant cures or treatments. One of the most popular products in the market today are antioxidant supplements, which are promoted as the solution to a frail and aging body. What exactly are antioxidant supplements and what do they do? Antioxidants refer to the substances that are believed to fight against diseases related to aging such as cardiovascular diseases, stroke and cancer. Examples of antioxidants include vitamins A, C and E, carotenoids, lycopene, glutathione, and many more. They are known to stop the production of free radicals from oxidized tissues. These molecules form chain reactions that damage the cells. When antioxidants stop the chain reaction, cell death is prevented. It is in this light that pharmaceutical companies created antioxidant supplements and market them as the answer to many major health problems.

While antioxidants are indeed vital to the body, there are some important facts that you need to know before you decide to include one or more antioxidant supplements in your daily intake.

1. Antioxidants neither cure nor treat diseases. They may have properties and actions that can prevent cell damage but they should not be used as alternative medicine.

2. Most antioxidants can be found in healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains and whole wheat. Each has its different properties and should be prepared exactly as they are meant to be prepared. For example, beta-carotene from carrots become more available when cooked while lycopene from tomatoes become less potent when cooked for too long. In general, processed and preserved foods have very little or no antioxidants left.

3. The claims of all antioxidant supplements as extraordinarily beneficial to the health are not reviewed and backed by the Food and Drug Administration. At best they are statements of their own lab researcher or maybe from someone hired to market their products. Although the results for researches on antioxidants showed positive results, it did not do the same for the supplements.

4. Some supplements even cause more damage to the body and even death. Wrong dosage, wrong combinations, fake antioxidants and other factors contribute to untrustworthiness of many supplement products. Clinical trials and studies do not support the effectiveness of antioxidant supplements. Some companies just take advantage of the people’s vulnerability to misleading information.

You should not worry that you are not taking a specific or any kind of antioxidant supplements being marketed as the solution to your health problems. You can do well without any supplements since many antioxidants are present in the food we eat. Some of them are also synthesized in the body at the right amount and dosage. Everything is taken care of naturally. What we need to do is just maximize what nature has provided us. Start by eating right, drinking plenty of water, and exercising regularly.