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Antioxidants

Free radicals are produced when our cells function normally in the body. Free radicals are damaged molecules which are highly unstable and able to steal components from other cellular molecules, such as fat, protein, or DNA, thereby spreading the damage. This damage continues in a chain reaction with cells becoming damaged and dying. This process is called peroxidation. Peroxidation is useful because it helps the body destroy cells that have outlived their usefulness as well as bacteria and parasites. However, when peroxidation is left unchecked it destroys or damages healthy cells.

Antioxidants are substances or nutrients in our food which can prevent or slow the oxidative damage to our body. Antioxidants act as free radical scavengers and prevent and repair damage done by the free radicals, by binding to the free radicals, transforming them into non-damaging compounds, or repairing cellular damage.

When there are not enough antioxidants to limit peroxidation to appropriate levels, free radicals begin damaging healthy cells which, in turn, can lead to problems. For example, free radical damage to immune cells can lead to an increased risk of infections.

Antioxidants come in a variety of forms including Vitamin C, Vitamin E, the Carotenoids, and Selenium. Good sources include fruits and vegetables. The highest concentrations tend to be found in the most deeply or brightly coloured fruits and vegetables.















Copyright 2005 Glyconutrients Reference - Last Updated May 2005



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