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If you are getting enough antioxidants, your Antioxidant Need / Oxidative Stress w/ Supplements score will drop. If it is being reported as 'Minor', then you are taking enough. If 'Moderate' or Significant', antioxidants will be advised in your treatment section. Continued Antioxidants is advised when you are already taking some. The amount can be increased further as needed to lower the Antioxidant Need / Oxidative Stress w/ Supplements score.

Antioxidants are able to neutralize free radicals in the body. However, each time an antioxidant molecule interacts with an antioxidant, it also is neutralized; thus, a constant replenishing of antioxidants in the system is necessary.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) is a term which encompasses all highly reactive, oxygen-containing molecules, including free radicals. Types of ROS include the hydroxyl radical, the superoxide anion radical, hydrogen peroxide, singlet oxygen, nitric oxide radical, hypochlorite radical, and various lipid peroxides. All are capable of reacting with membrane lipids, nucleic acids, proteins and enzymes, and other small molecules, resulting in cellular damage. ROS are generated by a number of biochemical pathways.

To combat these ROS requires a range of different antioxidants. Different types are more effective against different free radicals. A balanced diet (or supplementation system) will include antioxidants of several different types. Specific diseases may respond to some antioxidants better than others.

To protect the cells and organ systems of the body against reactive oxygen species, humans have evolved a highly sophisticated and complex antioxidant protection system. It involves a variety of components, both from within your body and from without, that function interactively and synergistically to neutralize free radicals.

These components include:
Nutrient-derived antioxidants like ascorbic acid (vitamin C), tocopherols and tocotrienols (vitamin E), carotenoids, and other low molecular weight compounds such as glutathione and lipoic acid. Lipoic acid (alpha lipoic acid) is somewhat unique in that it is both water- and fat-soluble. Cysteine (also as NAC) and glutamine are considered to be rate limiting steps in the production of glutathione and as such support the body's antioxidant defense system. Pycnogenol and grape seed extract are examples of nutrient derived antioxidants.

Numerous other antioxidant phytonutrients are present in a wide variety of plant foods. Phenolic compounds such as flavonoids are ubiquitous within the plant kingdom: approximately 3,000 flavonoid substances have been described. In humans, flavonoids appear to function as “biological response modifiers.” Flavonoids have been demonstrated to have anti-inflammatory, antiallergenic, antiviral, antiaging, and anticarcinogenic activity. The broad therapeutic effects of flavonoids can be largely attributed to their antioxidant properties. The best way to ensure an adequate intake of phytonutrients is to eat a diet rich in a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Phytonutrient supplements are also now widely available.

Regulatory molecules and antioxidant enzymes. Superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, and glutathione reductase catalyze free radical quenching reactions. The antioxidant enzymes require micronutrient cofactors such as selenium, iron, copper, zinc, and manganese for optimum catalytic activity. An inadequate dietary intake of these trace minerals may compromise the effectiveness of these antioxidant defense mechanisms. CoQ10 is also synthesized in all tissues and in healthy individuals normal levels are maintained both by CoQ10 intake and by the body's synthesis of CoQ10.

Nitric oxide (NO), discovered to be produced by mammalian cells only in the 1980’s, is a regulatory molecule that has come under increasing interest and scrutiny due to its role as an important mediator of homeostatic processes and immunity. NO is believed to participate in the regulation of the oxidation/reduction potential of various cells and may be involved in either the protection against or the induction of oxidative stress within various tissues, depending upon its concentration. Emerging evidence suggests that some diseases are related to either an inadequate or excessive production of NO. Furthermore, changes in the concentration of arginine, an amino acid from which NO is formed, may influence NO generation and activity. Other nutrients that may have an impact on NO generation and activity include riboflavin, niacin, folate, folic acid, vitamin B12, omega-3 essential fatty acids, and various antioxidants. NO is made from the amino acid arginine.

Metal binding proteins, such as ferritin, lactoferrin, albumin, and ceruloplasmin that sequester free iron and copper ions that are capable of catalyzing oxidative reactions.

Protection against the hazards of modern life and illness is dependent upon the adequacy of various antioxidant
substances that are derived either directly or indirectly from the diet. Consequently, an inadequate intake of antioxidant nutrients may compromise antioxidant potential, thus compounding overall oxidative stress.

The natural antioxidant found in broccoli and BroccoSprouts® (glucoraphanin, also known as sulforaphane
glucosinolate (SGS)) has been shown to be longer lasting than Vitamin C, E and A in removing free radicals from the body. SGS activates the body's own natural antioxidant defense system, including Phase 2 Detoxification enzymes.

The long-lasting activity of SGS was discovered by scientists at Johns Hopkins University Medical School while studying the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Only Brassica teas are patented and licensed by Johns Hopkins University under US patents.

You can find Brassica teas in 4 Chinese Sencha green tea flavors (green tea with SGS, decaffeinated green tea with SGS, green tea with lemon and SGS and green tea with orange and SGS) and 2 Chinese black tea flavors (Black tea with SGS and decaffeinated black tea with SGS.) Our decaf teas are naturally decaffeinated and GMO and chemical free. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of all Brassica Teas will go to the Brassica Foundation for biomedical research on vegetables.

The largest and most advanced analysis of the antioxidant content of common foods to date shows that disease-fighting antioxidants may be found in unexpected fruits and vegetables, such as beans, artichokes, and even the much-maligned Russet potato. Researchers found that small red beans contain more disease-fighting antioxidants than both wild and cultivated blueberries, which have been heralded in recent years for their high antioxidant content. In fact, three of the top five antioxidant-rich foods studied were beans.

Cranberries, blueberries, and blackberries were ranked highest among the fruits studied. Beans, artichokes, and Russet potatoes were tops among the vegetables.

Pecans, walnuts, and hazelnuts were the winners in the nut category, and ground cloves, cinnamon, and oregano were the top three antioxidant-rich spices. [Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, June 9, 2004]

Ruby Reds is an example of a dietary supplement containing antioxidants that helps make up the difference between the nutritional intake that you need to stay healthy and what you’re actually getting in the food you eat. Unlike vitamin pills, Ruby Reds is made from real foods. Ruby Reds is a nutritious power pack of fruit and vegetable concentrates, enhanced with key factors like probiotics, enzymes, fiber and grape seed extract.

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 27, 2007 — A new meta-analysis examining the effect of antioxidant supplements on all-cause mortality published in the Feb. 28, 2007 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) misuses meta-analysis methods to create generalized conclusions that may inappropriately confuse and alarm consumers who can benefit from supplementing with antioxidants, said the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association for the dietary supplement industry.

“Healthy consumers can feel confident in continuing to take antioxidants for the benefits they provide. This meta-analysis does nothing to change those facts,” said CRN’s Andrew Shao, Ph.D., vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs. “While meta-analyses can be useful when the included studies are very similar in design and study population, this meta-analysis combined studies that differ vastly from each other in a number of important ways that compromise the results.”

For example, the meta-analysis included clinical trials that varied widely in terms of dosage, duration, study population and nutrients tested—such as data from a one-day study with a vitamin A dose of 200,000 IU mixed with data from other studies lasting years. In addition, many of the clinical trials included in the meta-analysis tested nutrients beyond those that were the focus of the article (vitamins A, C, and E; beta-carotene; selenium), including lutein and zinc, making it difficult to appropriately evaluate the contribution of those trials to the overall meta-analysis.

“It’s like comparing apples and oranges,” said Dr. Shao.

Moreover, the overwhelming majority of the clinical trials included in the meta-analysis tested for secondary prevention, looking at how a nutrient works in those who already are diseased, instead of primary prevention studies in healthy populations.

“Combining secondary prevention and primary prevention trials and then making conclusions for the entire population is an unsound scientific approach,” said Dr. Shao. “Additionally, many of the treatment trials had limitations, including the expectation that a simple antioxidant vitamin could be expected to overturn serious illness, such as cancer or heart disease. These trials likely statistically skewed the results.”

Dr. Shao further pointed out, “The study authors concluded that overall there was no effect of antioxidant supplements on all-cause mortality. It was only after the researchers divided the chosen clinical trials into ‘high risk bias’ and ‘low risk bias’ groups, using their own criteria, that they observed a statistically significant effect on mortality. This meta-analysis appears to be a predetermined conclusion in search of a method to support it.”
 

 
 

Antioxidants can help with the following:
 
 
Aging  Cataracts / Risk
 The risk of cataracts may be reduced by long term use of a daily multivitamin, recent study findings suggest. Researchers found that individuals who took a multivitamin or a supplement that contained vitamins C or E for more than 10 years had a 60% lower risk of developing a cataract, regardless of other risk factors. [Archives of Ophthalmology November, 2000;118: pp.1556-1563]

Drug Side Effects

  Radiation, Side-Effects
 A study involving 20 individuals suffering from chronic radiation proctitis showed that a daily regimen of vitamins E and C substantially reduced or eliminated the symptoms of the illness. [NewsRx.com April 02, 2001]

  Chemotherapy Side-Effects/Risks
 A number of people have been concerned about the possible interference of antioxidants with chemotherapy and radiation effectiveness. A large formal review of the medical literature was done by Drs Lamson and Brignall, both Naturopathic Doctors and published in Alternative Medicine Reviews, 1999;4(5): pp.304-329. The results showed that there were actually only 3 specific chemotherpy treatments that interfered with the conventional chemotherapy, usually they actually helped. Their conclusion follows.

"Frequently, the effects of using antioxidants concurrent with chemotherapy and radiation are synergistic. Except for three specific interactions outlined above (flavonoids with tamoxifen, NAC with doxorubicin, and beta-carotene with 5-fluorouracil), there is no evidence to date showing that natural antioxidants interfere with conventional cancer therapeutics in vivo. Studies have shown patients treated with antioxidants, with or without chemotherapy and radiation, have many benefits. Patients have been noted to tolerate standard treatment better, experience less weight loss, have a better quality of life, and most importantly, live longer than patients receiving no supplements. It is time to research the role of these agents in conventional oncologic treatment, rather than dismiss them as a class based on theoretical concerns."

Taking ACES (Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and selenium) before and during therapy has been helpful in decreasing the toxicity of chemotherapy, while increasing its effectiveness.

Applying vitamin E topically to mouth sores twice per day leads to complete healing in six out of nine people, compared with only one of nine taking placebo. Applying vitamin E only once per day was helpful to only some groups of patients in another trial, but not all studies have found vitamin E to be effective.

Nutrients

  Antioxidant Need/Oxidative Stress w/o Supplements

Organ Health

  Hepatitis
 An Israeli study published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology observed that oxidative stress in the liver is associated with chronic Hepatitis C infection. Researchers concluded that treatment with multiple antioxidants for people with chronic HCV was well tolerated and has a therapeutic benefit for hepatic inflammation and liver cell death. Therefore, antioxidant therapy can reduce liver inflammation and cell death. [Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, September 2005.]

Risks

Not recommended for:
  Cancer / Risk - General Measures
 A 2008 study concluded that:

"Supplementation with vitamin C, vitamin E, or beta carotene offers no overall benefits in the primary prevention of total cancer incidence or cancer mortality." They wrote that the trial showed: "Neither duration of treatment nor combination of the three antioxidant supplements had effects on overall fatal or nonfatal cancer events."

"Thus, our results are in agreement with a recent review of randomized trials indicating that total mortality was not affected by duration of supplementation and single or combined antioxidant regimens," added the researchers. [30 December 2008, Advance Access online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute]

Skin-Hair-Nails

  Concern Over Wrinkled Skin
 A new method for fighting skin wrinkles has been developed at the Hebrew University Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences. Reported Sept. 2007.

In her doctoral research at the university, Dr. Orit Bossi succeeded in isolating a plant-based antioxidant that delays the aging process by countering the breakdown of collagen fibers in the skin. Dr. Bossi conducted her research under the supervision of Zecharia Madar, the Karl Bach Professor of Agricultural Biochemistry at the Hebrew University, and Prof. Shlomo Grossman of Bar-Ilan University.

Antioxidants operate against free radicals which cause a breakdown of many tissues in the body, including the skin. When found in small quantities in the body, free radicals are not harmful and are even involved in various physical processes. When there is an excess of free radicals, however, as occurs during normal aging or as a result of excessive exposure to ultra-violet radiation from the sun, the result, among other things, is a breakdown of the collagen and elastin fibers in the skin. When this happens, there is a loss of skin elasticity and the formation of wrinkles.

"A problem with many of the commercial antioxidants found today in the market that are said to retard the aging process is that they oxidize quickly and therefore their efficiency declines with time," said Dr. Bossi. "Vitamin C, for example, oxidizes rapidly and is sensitive to high temperatures. This is also true of the antioxidant EGCG which is found in green tea, and vitamin E. As opposed to these, the antioxidant which I used in my research is able to withstand high temperatures, is soluble in water, and does not oxidize easily and thus remains effective over time."

Dr. Bossi is looking towards a new generation of cosmetic products which will not only combat wrinkles but will be more effective against deeper levels of skin wrinkles than current products. Dr. Bossi did not reveal the plant source she used to derive the antioxidant, since the research is in the process of being patented.
 
 


KEY
May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended
May have adverse consequences







GLOSSARY

Amino Acid:  An organic acid containing nitrogen chemical building blocks that aid in the production of protein in the body. Eight of the twenty-two known amino acids are considered "essential," and must be obtained from dietary sources because the body can not synthesize them.

Anti-inflammatory:  Reducing inflammation by acting on body mechanisms, without directly acting on the cause of inflammation, e.g., glucocorticoids, aspirin.

Antioxidant:  A chemical compound that slows or prevents oxygen from reacting with other compounds. Some antioxidants have been shown to have cancer-protecting potential because they neutralize free radicals. Examples include vitamins C and E, alpha lipoic acid, beta carotene, the minerals selenium, zinc, and germanium, superoxide dismutase (SOD), coenzyme Q10, catalase, and some amino acids, like cystiene. Other nutrient sources include grape seed extract, curcumin, gingko, green tea, olive leaf, policosanol and pycnogenol.

Antiviral:  Any of a number of herbs, drugs or agents capable of destroying viruses or inhibiting their growth or multiplication until the body is capable of destroying the virus itself. Most antiviral agents are members of the antimetabolite family.

Arginine:  A nonessential amino acid but may be essential for individuals with certain diseases or nutritional concerns. May promote the release of growth hormone. Involved in creatine synthesis, a compound that stores energy in muscle. Helps to remove ammonia from the body as part of the urea cycle.

Beta-Carotene:  The most abundant of the carotenoids, beta-carotene has strong provitamin A activity and is a stronger antioxidant than vitamin A. It is widely accepted today as a cancer preventative. It is found in leafy green and yellow vegetables, often missing in children's diets. Beta-Carotene is believed to be a superior source of Vitamin A because it is readily converted into a more active form of the substance: your body converts it to Vitamin A as needed.

Cancer:  Refers to the various types of malignant neoplasms that contain cells growing out of control and invading adjacent tissues, which may metastasize to distant tissues.

Cobalamin:  Vitamin B-12. Essential for normal growth and functioning of all body cells, especially those of bone marrow (red blood cell formation), gastrointestinal tract and nervous system, it prevents pernicious anemia and plays a crucial part in the reproduction of every cell of the body i.e. synthesis of genetic material (DNA).

Cofactor:  A substance that acts with another substance to bring about certain effects, often a coenzyme.

Copper:  An essential mineral that is a component of several important enzymes in the body and is essential to good health. Copper is found in all body tissues. Copper deficiency leads to a variety of abnormalities, including anemia, skeletal defects, degeneration of the nervous system, reproductive failure, pronounced cardiovascular lesions, elevated blood cholesterol, impaired immunity and defects in the pigmentation and structure of hair. Copper is involved in iron incorporation into hemoglobin. It is also involved with vitamin C in the formation of collagen and the proper functioning in central nervous system. More than a dozen enzymes have been found to contain copper. The best studied are superoxide dismutase (SOD), cytochrome C oxidase, catalase, dopamine hydroxylase, uricase, tryptophan dioxygenase, lecithinase and other monoamine and diamine oxidases.

Cysteine:  A nonessential amino acid but may be essential for individuals with certain diseases or nutritional concerns. Cysteine is a sulfur-bearing amino acid with antioxidant properties. It is important for keratin synthesis, a protein found in skin, hair and nails and is a component of coenzyme A and glutathione.

Enzymes:  Specific protein catalysts produced by the cells that are crucial in chemical reactions and in building up or synthesizing most compounds in the body. Each enzyme performs a specific function without itself being consumed. For example, the digestive enzyme amylase acts on carbohydrates in foods to break them down.

Essential Fatty Acid:  (EFA): A substance that the human body cannot manufacture and therefore must be supplied in the diet.

Folic Acid:  A B-complex vitamin that functions along with vitamin B-12 and vitamin C in the utilization of proteins. It has an essential role in the formation of heme (the iron containing protein in hemoglobin necessary for the formation of red blood cells) and DNA. Folic acid is essential during pregnancy to prevent neural tubular defects in the developing fetus.

Free Radical:  A free radical is an atom or group of atoms that has at least one unpaired electron. Because another element can easily pick up this free electron and cause a chemical reaction, these free radicals can effect dramatic and destructive changes in the body. Free radicals are activated in heated and rancid oils and by radiation in the atmosphere, among other things.

Glutamine:  A non-essential amino acid, glutamine is considered to be a brain fuel. Glutamine has been used therapeutically for alcoholism, mild depression and to reduce the craving for sweets. Glutamine is very important in the functioning of the metabolism and muscle maintenance. Glutamine supplementation can help prevent muscle and other tissue breakdown by providing the body with nitrogen and fuel.

Glutathione:  A natural sulfur-bearing peptide formed from the linking of three amino acids: glutamic acid, cysteine and glycine. Glutathione acts as an antioxidant and detoxicant and is involved with the selenium-containing enzyme glutathione peroxidase. Glutathione is also involved in amino acid transport across cell membranes.

Glutathione Peroxidase:  A family of antioxidant enzymes containing selenium which are important in the reduction of different hydroperoxides, including hydrogen peroxide which is involved in the irritation of the gastrointestinal tract and increase in perspiration.

GMO:  Genetically Modified Organism.

Iron:  An essential mineral. Prevents anemia: as a constituent of hemoglobin, transports oxygen throughout the body. Virtually all of the oxygen used by cells in the life process are brought to the cells by the hemoglobin of red blood cells. Iron is a small but most vital, component of the hemoglobin in 20,000 billion red blood cells, of which 115 million are formed every minute. Heme iron (from meat) is absorbed 10 times more readily than the ferrous or ferric form.

IU:  International Units. One IU is 1/40th (0.025) of a microgram (mcg).

Lipid:  Fat-soluble substances derived from animal or vegetable cells by nonpolar solvents (e.g. ether); the term can include the following types of materials: fatty acids, glycerides, phospholipids, alcohols and waxes.

Lipoic acid:  A sulfur-containing coenzyme used in the energy process and is also a powerful antioxidant. Has been used therapeutically in the treatment of AIDS and diabetes because of the synergy between alpha-lipoic acid and vitamin E and the interlocking cycles which lead to better optimization of antioxidant nutrients.

Manganese:  An essential mineral found in trace amounts in tissues of the body. Adults normally contain an average of 10 to 20mg of manganese in their bodies, most of which is contained in bone, the liver and the kidneys. Manganese is essential to several critical enzymes necessary for energy production, bone and blood formation, nerve function and protein metabolism. It is involved in the metabolism of fats and glucose, the production of cholesterol and it allows the body to use thiamine and Vitamin E. It is also involved in the building and degrading of proteins and nucleic acid, biogenic amine metabolism, which involves the transmitting of nerve impulses.

Mineral:  Plays a vital role in regulating many body functions. They act as catalysts in nerve response, muscle contraction and the metabolism of nutrients in foods. They regulate electrolyte balance and hormonal production, and they strengthen skeletal structures.

NAC:  (N-acetyl-l-cysteine): A sulfur compound that is a precursor of glutathione.

Niacin:  (Vitamin B-3): A coenzyme B-complex vitamin that assists in the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Essential for the health of the skin, nerves, tongue and digestive system. It is found in every cell of the body and is necessary for energy production. Niacin is also needed for DNA formation.

Peroxides:  Free radicals that are by-products formed in our bodies when molecules of fat react with oxygen.

pH:  A measure of an environment's acidity or alkalinity. The more acidic the solution, the lower the pH. For example, a pH of 1 is very acidic; a pH of 7 is neutral; a pH of 14 is very alkaline.

Phytonutrient:  A nutrient derived from a plant.

Protein:  Compounds composed of hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen present in the body and in foods that form complex combinations of amino acids. Protein is essential for life and is used for growth and repair. Foods that supply the body with protein include animal products, grains, legumes, and vegetables. Proteins from animal sources contain the essential amino acids. Proteins are changed to amino acids in the body.

Pycnogenol:  A trademark for specific bioflavonoids extracted from pine bark.

Riboflavin:  (Vitamin B-2): A B-complex vitamin that acts as a coenzyme that activates the breakdown and utilization of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It is essential for cellular oxidation and necessary for healthy skin and eyes.

ROS:  Reactive Oxygen Species. Molecules including free radicals and other oxygen species.

Selenium:  An essential element involved primarily in enzymes that are antioxidants. Three selenium- containing enzymes are antioxidant peroxidases and a fourth selenium-containing enzyme is involved in thyroid hormone production. The prostate contains a selenium-containing protein and semen contains relatively large amounts of selenium. Clinical studies show that selenium is important in lowering the risk of several types of cancers. In combination with Vitamin E, selenium aids the production of antibodies and helps maintain a healthy heart. It also aids in the function of the pancreas, provides elasticity to tissues and helps cells defend themselves against damage from oxidation.

Tocopherol:  Any of several fat-soluble, oily, phenolic compounds with antioxidant vitamin E activity.

Vitamin A:  A fat-soluble vitamin essential to one's health. Plays an important part in the growth and repair of body tissue, protects epithelial tissue, helps maintain the skin and is necessary for night vision. It is also necessary for normal growth and formation of bones and teeth. For Vitamin A only, 1mg translates to 833 IU.

Vitamin C:  Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant vitamin essential to the body's health. When bound to other nutrients, for example calcium, it would be referred to as "calcium ascorbate". As an antioxidant, it inhibits the formation of nitrosamines (a suspected carcinogen). Vitamin C is important for maintenance of bones, teeth, collagen and blood vessels (capillaries), enhances iron absorption and red blood cell formation, helps in the utilization of carbohydrates and synthesis of fats and proteins, aids in fighting bacterial infections, and interacts with other nutrients. It is present in citrus fruits, tomatoes, berries, potatoes and fresh, green leafy vegetables.

Vitamin E:  An essential fat-soluble vitamin. As an antioxidant, helps protect cell membranes, lipoproteins, fats and vitamin A from destructive oxidation. It helps protect red blood cells and is important for the proper function of nerves and muscles. For Vitamin E only, 1mg translates to 1 IU.

Zinc:  An essential trace mineral. The functions of zinc are enzymatic. There are over 70 metalloenzymes known to require zinc for their functions. The main biochemicals in which zinc has been found to be necessary include: enzymes and enzymatic function, protein synthesis and carbohydrate metabolism. Zinc is a constituent of insulin and male reproductive fluid. Zinc is necessary for the proper metabolism of alcohol, to get rid of the lactic acid that builds up in working muscles and to transfer it to the lungs. Zinc is involved in the health of the immune system, assists vitamin A utilization and is involved in the formation of bone and teeth.