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SHOULD YOU BE TAKING ANTIOXIDANTS?


The answer is an unequivocal YES; because they fight free radicals.  So the question becomes what are free radicals?


Free radicals are nasty molecules in need of an electron.  This makes them very reactive.  In fact they will react with the first cell they come in contact.  In the process they damage cell membranes, proteins, fats, DNA, cholesterol (making it more sticky-which causes atherosclerosis) and many other structures.  According to Professor Ames at UC Berkeley, each one of our cells sustains about 10,000 free radical hits per day!!!  Therefore, the damage they can cause is enormous.

Where do these FREE RADICALS come from?

Car exhaust, factory particulates, pesticides, tobacco smoke, drugs, sunlight, immune function, vigorous exercise and even your bodies own metabolic process all create free radicals.  In fact it’s impossible to create energy from food and oxygen without creating these nasty buggers.


Antioxidants to the rescue.

Antioxidants are molecules that are happy to donate an electron to the free radical, neutralizing it before it does any damage.  In the process however, the antioxidant is oxidized and loses its ability to reduce another free radical.  It can be recharged by another antioxidant so that it can go back to work.  An example of this process are polyphenols from berries recharging vitamins C and E so they can neutralize more free radicals. 

As I stated earlier, it is estimated that each of the 6 trillion cells in your body sustains 10,000 free radical hits per day (a staggering number).   With this in mind, it makes sense to insure that your tissues are saturated with high levels of antioxidants.  These antioxidants will then stop the damage these free radical assaults cause to your cells, tissues and organs.  Fruits and vegetables are great dietary sources of antioxidants.  That’s why you hear me espousing the benefits of these crucial foods on the radio.  Women should shoot for 7 servings a day while men need 9.


What type of damage do free radicals cause?

Premature aging of the skin including wrinkles and dark spots, visual changes, loss of memory, inflammation, cancer, atherosclerosis, voice changes, neurological damage and many other problems commonly associated with aging are all associated with free radical damage.  In fact it is involved with most disease processes. 

Your body has its own endogenous antioxidant system, which it uses along with dietary antioxidants.  Yet this system becomes less efficient at neutralizing free radicals as you get older.  At the same time your mitochondria leak more free radicals as you age.  This means that the older you are the more you need supplemental antioxidants.

Personally I take antioxidants daily.  They are in the multivitamins and antioxidant formulas on this site.  All of the phytonutrient drinks are loaded with them. PycnogenolGreen TeaAlpha Lipoic Acid and Co Q 10 are four impressive antioxidants, which I take daily, in addition to my multivitamin and phytonutrient, drinks.

Add antioxidants to your supplement regime.   It’s a smart choice that will pay dividends today and down the road.

Choose your foods wisely.  Ultimately the food you ingest, becomes the bricks and mortar from which your body is created.

Feel free to contact me if you would like more information on this topic or personal recommendations.

Have a great day.
Dr. Neil Levin
Chiropractor practicing in East Northport, NY
(631) 651-2929

drneil@drneillevin.com