A lot of people have heard about antioxidants and that it is important to have them in your diet. Antioxidants are actually very important in preventing certain diseases. Antioxidants are present in some of the foods we eat, like fruits and vegetables and there are several antioxidant supplements available on the market. Check out Scams Review for expert reviews on antioxidant supplements.
The Body Is Basically A Chemical System
The human body is a remarkably complex system. Doctors and scientists have studied it for centuries and yet there are still new things discovered about it everyday. There are still so many things we don’t have a complete understanding about – e.g. the human genome (the complete set of human genes), the human immune system, all of the factors that determine disease, e.t.c. Many different disciplines of science can be applied to the human body: most obviously biology but also physics, chemistry and psychology, to name a few. When it comes to the science of antioxidants, we need to take a look at the chemical level to determine how these substances work in the body. There are millions of chemical reactions taking place in the body at one time, all to support the process of life in one way or another. Oxidants and antioxidants form part of this complex system, but as scientists are discovering, they play a big role in health and disease.
The Body Produces Oxidants
Humans rely on oxygen in order to generate energy. The oxygen we breathe in is in a gas diatomic form, and that is why most people know oxygen as O2. This oxygen is used mostly in the process called cellular respiration where cells produce a molecule called ATP, which powers most of the cell’s chemical reactions. But oxygen is involved in other chemical reactions, which can produce products called oxidants. An example of an oxidant is an oxygen atom with a negative charge (O–). These oxygens quickly get rid of their negative charge by giving it to cell membranes or proteins or DNA. This negative charge damages these molecules, so the cell gets injured and swells. An area of swelling is called inflammation. Long-term inflammation can cause chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease and even cancer.
What antioxidants Do
Antioxidants circulate in the blood and enter the cells. There they take the negative charge from the oxidant. They don’t need to give off the negative charge because of their chemical structure. By doing this they prevent damage and inflammation. This means that taking in enough antioxidants everyday reduces the risk of developing certain chronic diseases. The antioxidants can then leave the cell and be excreted by the normal methods that the body uses.
What Happens When There Aren’t Enough Antioxidants
When the cells get injured from oxidative stress, the damage caused by oxidants, they release a host of chemical signals to tell the immune system that they are in danger. The immune system sends some white blood cells to find the source of danger and destroy it. The white blood cells eat up bits of the injured cells looking for viruses or bacteria but they don’t find any. This causes them to release more chemical messages to enhance the inflammation. Part of inflammation is local blood clotting to try and contain any infectious agents like viruses. But this constant inflammation due to the fact that the immune system can’t find the source of the problem, can lead to the formation of blood clots that can travel to the heart and cause a heart attack.
If that’s not bad enough, the damage to the DNA in the cells can cause rapid mutations, which can cause the cells to divide uncontrollably. As most people know, this is the beginning stage of cancer. The body also begins to recognize the bits of damaged cells that are eaten up by the white blood cells as foreign. This causes the white blood cells to attack other healthy cells that have the same pattern as the damaged cells.
In summary, without enough antioxidants, your body’s own defenses turn on themselves, leading to chronic disease.
More Details On The Sources Of Antioxidants
A lot of the vitamins we eat are antioxidants. A great source of vitamins is fruits. Some fruits contain very powerful antioxidants, for example anthocyanins in blueberries and cranberries. Green tea also contains antioxidants. Unfortunately, due to environmental factors and human factors, the quality of the soil in which these plants are grown is decreasing slowly, leading to decreased vitamins in fruits. That’s why some people might consider supplements which contain antioxidants instead.
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