Free Radicals: What Supplements help to Lessen Free Radicals? Part Three

Free Radicals: What Supplements help to Lessen Free Radicals? Part Three 

 

According to certain experts, there are thousands of different antioxidants in the human diet that exist in different forms. With the complexities of how antioxidants work in the body to combat and destroy free radicals, some of those experts also believe that only in the food form do phytonutrients or antioxidants interact beneficially within our body.  

Michael Pollan, who authored the book- “In Defense of Food,” finds this obsession with finding the perfect ingredient or foods, “nutritionism” and “reductionist science” and believes that it may actually promote unhealthy eating. By paying attention to the foods from the perspective of the specific nutrients they contain dissolves the “distinction between processed foods and whole foods,” Pollan writes. It is often easier for people to focus on the labels that say, “contains essential vitamins and minerals” or “contains antioxidants vitamins E and D,” like those on a box of cereal. Whereas the banana or fresh carrot has no label to clearly state what it offers.  

Surveys done in America given to those patients who are taking some sort of supplement has helped to prove that thirty percent of Americans are indeed taking some form of boosting antioxidant (NIH). The American Heart Association, Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic all recommend getting antioxidants naturally from whole foods with an unprocessed diet. This diet must include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, rather than getting them from supplements.  

Some specialists have pointed out that many foods that are high in ORAC scores, like cocoa, green tea or acai berries, offer great benefits beyond just that of a supplement for antioxidants. These things also contain fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. All of these important compounds work together synergistically and therefore these foods can be much greater than that of their counterpart supplements.  

Based on this information, you can understand that while individual antioxidants may be beneficial alone or in a multi-style supplement, the bigger goal should remain on prevention of free radical damage by consuming a wide variety of nutrient-dense, whole foods. At the same time, it is important to reduce the toxin load in the body by lessening things like medications, stress, and pollutants.  

What Precautions You Can Take regarding Free Radicals 

With the new releases of many “anti-aging” and “specialty” supplements, many experts worry that patients may begin relying on supplements to counteract their unhealthy lifestyle choices and poor nutrition. There are also risks that involve consuming too much or too high of a dose of antioxidants from supplements that may compromise the defensive role of free radicals in the immune system or have other issues and effects like interfering with proper exercise recovery.  

When it comes to free radicals, the end line is that according to many studies, isolating specific antioxidants or consuming antioxidants from pill supplements is not very helpful; especially when compared to what eating a diet of whole foods can do. Having a steady variety of antioxidants in your diet from whole foods shows to be the most beneficial for optimal health.  

End Thoughts on Free Radicals 

  • Antioxidants help to slow down the effects of free radicals and protect us from disease or some of the signs of early aging. Antioxidant sources include plant foods like vegetables, fruits, cocoa, red wine, spices, herbs, or green and white teas.  
  • The best way to reduce free radical damage in your body is to have a healthy diet and lifestyle, and not taking supplements. Supplements can also create unwanted side effects and are not as beneficial as eating whole foods.  
  • The human body produces free radicals as byproducts of standard cellular reactions like breathing and our vital function. In addition to exposure to pollutants, a poor diet, radiation, high amounts of stress and many other toxins.  

 

Resources Used: 

Reclaiming Intimacy 

Michael Pollan, author. “In Defense of Food.”  

NIH 

Mayo Clinic 

Cleveland Clinic 

AHA 

 

Back to blog