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Anti-Aging with Anti-Oxidants?

A great variety of free radicals are continuously generated in cells in our body. Free radicals are metabolism by-products that naturally occur in our body. They are unstable and can cause irreversible oxidation of proteins, lipids, nucleic acids and c

2019-01-03 15:06:34

beta carotenelipoic acidvitamin ecoenzyme q 10vitamin cvitamin bantioxidant

A great variety of free radicals are continuously generated in cells in our body.   Free radicals are metabolism by-products that naturally occur in our body.  They are unstable and can cause irreversible oxidation of proteins, lipids, nucleic acids and carbohydrates inside or outside the cells.  This is called the oxidative stress and oxidative stress is thought to be the most important cause of chronic diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes in addition to aging.    Antioxidants are molecules that can stabilize these free radicals and thus prevent their accumulation in our body.  It has been suggested that increasing the circulating levels of antioxidants  may help to reduce oxidative stress in the body. 


  •         Beta-carotene: Beta- carotene is one of the many types of carotenoids, which are natural colorants that occur in the human diet, especially in yellow-orange-red fruits and green leafy vegetables.    Beta-carotene is a major carotenoid in skin and studies report moderate UV protective effects of Beta-carotene in the skin.  It  is a potent natural antioxidant that scavenges free radicals in our body.   Plus, Beta-carotene is an important Vitamin A precursor for humans which is another antioxidant.  

  •         Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol): Vitamin E can be found in cell membrane and prevents lipid peroxidation in cell membrane by interfering with nearby free radicals.   Lipid peroxidation is a process where free radicals attack lipids and it has been known to contribute to atherosclerosis.  This antioxidant activity can change Vitamin E into Vitamin E radical (now has no antioxidant activity and is unstable).  

  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble antioxidant that helps in regenerating Vitamin E, converting Vitamin E radical to Vitamin E.  Again, this reaction converts Vitamin C to Vitamin C radical, which then is converted back to Vitamin C by other antioxidant, glutathione.  Glutathione is considered one of the most potent antioxidants in our body and largely known to minimize the lipid peroxidation of cellular membranes.   

  •         Coenzyme Q10:   Coenzyme Q10 provides antioxidant protection to lipoproteins (examples include LDL and HDL- the “Bad”and “Good” cholesterol, respectively) in the blood vessel.   Coenzyme Q10 lowers lipid peroxidation of LDL particles.   Studies have suggested that 1 treatment has health benefits against cardiovascular diseases.  In addition, Coenzyme Q10 has an antioxidant activity by converting radical forms (unstable forms) of vitamin C and E back to their stable forms in the cell membrane.


  •          N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC):  NAC is a precursor to glutathione (one of the building blocks of glutathione) and studies have shown that oral administration of NAC enhances glutathione levels in the human.    NAC can also interact directly with free radicals, serving as an antioxidant.

  •         SeleniumSelenium is an important nutrient that is needed for the production of antioxidant enzymes, one being glutathione peroxidase, a key enzyme in the activation of glutathione.  Foods are major natural source of selenium and its levels generally depend on soil selenium levels.  Selenium also has been found to have a role in immunity.

  •          Alpha-lipoic acid (LA)Known as a potent antioxidant and a detoxification agent in our body, LA has an antioxidant activity of regenerating other antioxidants including glutathione.   Currently, little is known about the underlying mechanism by which alpha-lipoic acid regenerates glutathione and is currently being studied.   Studies showed that alpha-lipoic acid treatment enhanced glutathione levels in human cells including T cells, red and white blood cells, and neurons (nerve cells).  

  •         Vitamin B12:  With folate, vitamin B12 is involved in the conversion of homocysteine to the amino acid methionine.  Homocysteine can act as free radicals that can damage endothelial cells (cells lining the blood vessels) and promote accumulation of platelets (cause blood clotting).  Many studies suggest the elevated level of homocysteinein the blood to be an important cardiovascular risk factor.   Vitamin B12 typically is found only in foods of animal origin which means that a strict vegetarian diet may lead to vitamin B12 deficiency.  

  •          Folate:  Folate is required for the synthesis of an enzyme for many important brain biomolecules including neurotransmitters (signalling molecules of our brain cells).  Together with Vitamin B6,  folate helps breakdown homocysteine in the body.  One recent evidence shows that low blood levels of folic acid are linked to a higher risk of stroke and coronary heart disease. 

  •         Vitamin B6 :  Vitamin B6 is required for normal growth and development.  As an antioxidant, it has a role in converting the free radical homocysteine to cysteine, one of the amino acids that our body can now utilize for protein synthesis.  Many studies have found that hyperhomocysteinemia (elevated concentration of homocysteine in ourblood) is associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis.   Studies suggest that that Vitamin B supplementation may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in stroke disease.  What is more, Vitamin B6 can act alone as an antioxidant by destroying free radicals. 



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