Antioxidant Supplements

Written by Blaire Chandler-Wilcox
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Every day, every cell of the human body produces unstable oxygen molecules. Plus, our own environment is full of these "free-radicals" that can, if left unchecked, lead to a host of illnesses. Antioxidant supplements help the body combat free-radicals and maintain better health.

Antioxidants are widely believed to help prevent heart disease, control high blood pressure, protect against diabetes-related illnesses, protect against some cancers, and even help prevent premature aging. While there are many fruits and vegetables that contain healthful antioxidants, and though the body does have its own elemental antioxidant defense system, experts agree that taking supplemental antioxidants is the best way to ensure your body is getting the best protection possible from naturally and environmentally occurring free-radicals.

What to Look for in Antioxidant Supplements

The best antioxidant supplements will contain compounds of known free-radical fighters. Compounds work better than single-element supplements because the ingredients often work together in a more superior fashion than if simply taken alone. Key ingredients to look for include vitamin C, vitamin E (naturally occurring "d-varieties" only; avoid the synthetic "dl-"), carotenes, zinc and copper. Additional enhancers might include flavanoids, alpha lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, gingko biloba and green tea extracts.

It's always a good idea to take antioxidant (as well as other) supplements with meals. Many vitamins and minerals are fat-, not water-, soluble. This means that if you only take them with water, the body may eliminate the vitamins without absorbing all the good they have to offer. Many experts also recommend taking both AM and PM doses of antioxidant supplements to provide round the clock protection.

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