There’s so much buzz about antioxidants everywhere – and lots of claims as to what they do for your skin, wrinkles, fat, and so on. I have examined these miracle workers – and I give you the scientific scoop – different types of antioxidants and how they function – and the real deal – how to get antioxidants functioning for your body and your skin (and your wrinkles and your fat – the elimination of it!).
Antioxidants are substances that neutralize potentially harmful chemicals called “free radicals.” Some of these free radicals arise normally during metabolic processes in your body. Sometimes your body’s immune system cells purposefully create free radicals to neutralize viruses and bacteria. Environmental factors, too, such as pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke and herbicides can spawn free radicals.
Usually, your body is able to handle free radicals. However, if antioxidants are not available in your system, or if the free-radical production becomes excessive, damage can occur. Of particular importance is that free radical damage accumulates with age. This damage manifests itself in your skin – as in the wrinkles on your skin.
Antioxidants are believed to help protect the body from free-radical damage. But before you stock your vitamin drawer with mega-doses of these vitamins, be warned: more is not always better. The long-term effect of large doses of these nutrients has not been proven. Other chemicals and substances found in natural sources of antioxidants may also be responsible for the beneficial effects. The best way to ensure adequate intake of antioxidant nutrients is through a balanced diet consisting of 5-8 servings of fruits and vegetables per day (as I discuss each of the antioxidant nutrients, I’ll list the best, most potent naturally occurring food sources that contain them). However, if your diet is lacking in these foods, supplements are available (and I’ll discuss your options under each of the following antioxidant nutrients:
- Alpha Lipoic Acid (“ALA”)
- Vitamin A and Carotenoids
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E