Oxygen is essential for living organisms to carry out basic cell functions. But when excess of O2 enters human body (with aerobic exercises and smoking), it produces some toxic substances. Oxygen peroxide and superoxide are common examples of those toxic substances. These are highly reactive substances that combine with other molecules in the body to form free radicals.
Free radicals have a natural tendency to further combine with molecules in the body and the process is known as oxidization. This process does prolific damage to cells and causes diseases. Then our body needs antioxidants to prevent the damage.
How antioxidants work :
Antioxidants are natural molecules that can neutralize free radical.Antioxidants provide free radicals with their own molecules and satisfy their urge to react with molecules of the body. In this process, however, antioxidants keep maintaining their original form. That’s how they help our body resist cell and tissue damage and prevent diseases.
Effective antioxidants and their sources :
We need about 5000 ORAC units of antioxidants per day to cope up with the average rate of oxidation. Normally, our body produces antioxidants to protect itself. But at times, the antioxidants produced by body are not enough to fight excessively produced free radicals. When we exercise, drink alcohol and smoke, the formation of free radicals gets accelerated and our body needs more antioxidants. We can boost the production of antioxidants by taking supplements and natural foods.
Here are major antioxidants and their sources :
- Coenzyme Q10 is a fat-soluble antioxidant and is found in human cells and is a component of the respiratory chain. The body needs energy and 95% of which is provided by CoQ10 alone. Fish is the biggest source of CoQ10.
- Idebenone is the synthetic analog of CoQ10 and is a powerful antioxidant. Idebenone, if present sufficiently in the body, amazingly cures sun-damaged skin. Lifecell skin cream has Idebenone as a major ingredient. The natural source of Idebenone is CoQ10.
- Lycopene is also a strong antioxidant with chemopreventive effects. It very efficiently cures photo-induced tumors. Naturally, Lycopene is obtained from red fruits and vegetables like tomato.
- Green Tea is an effective antioxidant. It reacts against erythema, DNA damage and sunburn. I nature, green tea is extracted from Camellia plant.
- Pomegranate is natural fruit with superb antioxidant properties. It can be used in the form of juice, seed and peel. Pomegranate protects skin against any damages done by ultraviolet rays.