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The Antioxidants

We all need vitamins and minerals to make the thousands of enzymes, hormones, and other chemicals our bodies need to work properly. Vitamins and minerals have another crucial role to play in our bodies. They act as powerful antioxidants that capture the free radicals in our bodies.

What are the antioxidants?

There are three vitamins that are called antioxidants. These are:

There are other substances that are not vitamins which also have antioxidant activity. These include:

How do antioxidants work?

Antioxidants are our body's natural defence against free radicals. Antioxidants are enzymes that roam around our body's cells looking for free radicals.

When they find one, they take hold of it and neutralize it without being damaged themselves. The antioxidant enzymes stop the invasion and remove the free radical from our circulation.

In order for this to work effectively we must have plenty of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin A, beta- carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E and trace minerals, in our body to make the antioxidant enzymes that do the neutralizing.

If we are running short on the right vitamins and minerals, we won't be able to make enough of the antioxidant enzymes. This will let the free radicals do extra damage to your cells before they get captured.

Even a good diet may not be rich in antioxidants so it is recommended that you take a good antioxidant each day. Many trials have shown that additional antioxidant vitamins, such as 2,000 mg of vitamin C and 400 mg of vitamin E daily, can significantly reduce the number of heart attacks, strokes, and cataracts.

Take care using vitamin E supplements if you are on blood thinning drugs.

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Bland, J. 1996, Contemporary Nutrition. J & B Associates.

Holden, S., Hudson, K., Tilman, J. & D. Wolf, 2003, The Ultimate Guide to Health from Nature. Asrolog Publication.

Pressman, A. and S. Buff, 2000, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vitamins and Minerals. (2nd Ed.) Alpha Books.

Soothill, R. 1996, The Choice Guide to Vitamins and Minerals. A Choice Book Publication.

Sullivan, K. 2002, Vitamins and Minerals: A Practical Approach to a Health Diet and Safe Supplementation. Harper Collins.

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It has only been in the past few decades that we've begun to understand how damaging free radicals can be and how important it is to have plenty of antioxidants in our bodies to neutralize them.


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