Antioxidants (biological antioxidants) – a group of compounds that includes carotenoids, minerals, vitamins. These substances are on guard cell health. They neutralize free radicals, prevent damage to the membranes, retain the strength and beauty of man. Antioxidants not only prevent the violation of the integrity of cells, but also accelerate the restoration of destroyed, increase the body’s resistance to infections. Thus, the compounds protect against aging, the adverse effects of environmental factors, cancer, cardiovascular diseases.
Antioxidants are used in medicine for the manufacture of dietary supplements, drugs, in the food industry, as a preservative, to reduce food spoilage and production, to slow down the pitch and stabilize the fuel.
The most famous antioxidants:
- minerals: chromium, manganese, zinc, selenium, copper;
- vitamins: tocopherols and tocotrienols (E), ascorbic acid (C), retinol (A);
- carotenoids: zeaxanthin, lycopene, beta – carotene, lutein.
The following types of biological antioxidants are distinguished:
- natural (contained in products);
- synthetic (drugs, food additives, dietary supplements).
Antioxidants and free radicals
Free radicals are molecules that lack one or more electrons. Every day, every cell of the internal organs is attacked by 10 000 defective connections. “Traveling” around the body, free radicals take away the desired electron from full-fledged molecules, which undermines human health. Damaged cells cease to fully function, comes “oxidative stress.”
The reasons for the appearance of free radicals in the human body:
- taking medicines;
- bad ecology;
- ultraviolet radiation.
The consequences of the damaging effects of aggressive oxidants on vital structures are tragic.
The consequences of the damaging effects of aggressive oxidants on vital structures are tragic.
Under the influence of free radicals develop:
- heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s;
Defective compounds cause inflammation in the tissues, brain cells, nervous system, accelerate aging, disrupt immune function, DNA, which leads to changes in the hereditary information.
To date, not invented means to prevent the appearance of free radicals in the body. However, if it were not for antioxidants, the person would have been sick much longer, harder, more often.
Biological antioxidants intercept the defective molecule, giving it its own electron, thereby protecting the cells of organs and systems from damage. At the same time, the antioxidants themselves, after detaching a negatively charged particle, do not lose stability.
Compounds block the oxidative process, promote cleansing, cell renewal, and have a rejuvenating effect on the skin.
Antioxidants are environmental troops, which is the guardian of the human body.
The role of vitamin antioxidants
The greatest absorbers of free radicals in the body are vitamins A, C, E.
These antioxidants can be obtained with food, but due to a highly polluted environment, the human need for substances increases every year, as a result, it becomes harder to fill the shortage with the help of natural sources. In this case, fortified supplements come to the rescue, which have a beneficial effect on the functioning of the internal organs and improve the general well-being of the person.
The role of antioxidants:
- Vitamin E (tocopherol). Embedded in the cell membrane, repels the attack of free radicals, prevents the destruction, tissue damage. In addition, vitamin E slows down peroxidation, stabilizes intracellular processes. Tocopherol suspends premature aging of the skin, prevents the development of cataracts, strengthens the immune system, improves the absorption of oxygen.
- Vitamin A (retinol). This antioxidant is able to be partially synthesized from beta-carotene, which, in turn, softens the effects of chemical and radioactive contamination, electromagnetic radiation, increases the body’s resistance to stress. Vitamin A protects the mucous membranes of internal organs, the skin from harmful environmental factors, helps the immune system to neutralize bacteria and viruses. It destroys carcinogens that cause the growth of malignant tumors, reduces cholesterol levels, prevents heart disease, strokes. With a chronic shortage of retinol, the activity of free radicals increases, dry skin is noted, and vision deteriorates.
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Protects brain cells and other antioxidants (tocopherol) from free radicals. Vitamin C increases the synthesis of interferon, neutralizes toxins, stimulates nerve cells. Interestingly, one smoked cigarette destroys 100 milligrams of ascorbic acid.
Remember, vitamins by themselves show insufficient antioxidant activity and without the combined action of minerals can not fully protect the body from damaging factors (endogenous and exogenous).
The value of minerals – antioxidants
Macro and micro compounds enhance the action of vitamins, have anti-allergic, immunostimulating, antitumor, anti-inflammatory, vasodilator and bactericidal properties.
Natural minerals – antioxidants promote healing of body cells, protect membranes from destructive excessive oxidation.
Consider what organic compounds “protect” the body from radical pests:
- Selenium. It is an element of the enzyme glutathione peroxidase, which supports the health of the heart, liver, lungs, and blood cells. The mineral stimulates the antibody response to painful stimuli (infection), protects the membranes from damage. Selenium is a blocker of redox transformations of metals. Lack of nutrients can lead to the fact that antioxidants begin to support the flow of free radical processes in the body.
- Zinc. It promotes the absorption of vitamin A, DNA and RNA repair, maintains the normal concentration of tocopherol in the body, protects the human genome from free radicals, keeping it intact and intact.
- Copper. Normalizes cellular metabolism, is a component of the enzyme superoxide dismutase, which is opposed to aggressive oxidizing agents. The lack of copper in the body leads to a decrease in resistance to colds and ARVI – infections.
- Chromium. Participates in carbohydrate and fat metabolism. Increases the body’s reserve capacity, accelerates the conversion of glucose to glycogen, increases endurance.
- Manganese. Antioxidant is involved in the production of superoxide dismutase, which protects the polyunsaturated fatty acids of cell membranes from the attack of free radicals. Manganese improves absorption of tocopherol, vitamins C and group B.
Powerful natural antioxidants are grapes, blueberries, ginseng, green tea, medicinal mushrooms (meytake, reishi, cordyceps, veselka, shiitake). Despite the abundance of these products in the human menu, people are left defenseless against the damaging effects of free radicals on cells.
According to the data of the Scientific Research Institute of Food Hygiene, today 50% of people are deficient in vitamin A in the body, and 85% ascorbic acid, minerals. The blame is emotional, physical stress, as a result of which there is an increased burning of nutrients, a sharp depletion of the soil, environmental degradation, stress, unbalanced nutrition.
Antioxidants, in the form of dietary supplements, fully cover the body’s need for beneficial compounds, protect against oxidants, free radicals, block the formation of nitrosamines, neutralize the harmful effects of lead on red blood cells, the nervous system, increase immunity, destroy cancer cells, increase longevity.
For the normal functioning of the nervous system and maintaining the health of internal organs, it is recommended to consume daily antioxidant vitamins and minerals in the following dosage:
- zinc – 8 milligrams for women, 11 milligrams for men (subject to a strict vegetarian diet or raw food diet, the daily rate should be increased by 50% of the indicated dose, since the body absorbs less compounds from plant foods than from animals);
- selenium – 55 micrograms;
- vitamin E – 15 milligrams;
- ascorbic acid – 75 milligrams for women, 90 milligrams for men (smokers are advised to increase the dosage by 45%, to 110, 125 milligrams, respectively)
- vitamin A – from 1 to 1,5 milligram;
- copper – 2,5 milligrams;
- chrome – from 100 to 150 micrograms;
- Manganese – from 3,0 to 4,0 milligrams;
- beta – carotene – from 3,0 to 6,0 milligrams.
Remember, the daily human need for antioxidants depends on the state of health, the presence of concomitant diseases, gender and age of the person.
Causes and signs of deficiency
With insufficient intake of antioxidants in the body, people lose their clarity of thinking, their working capacity decreases, their immunity weakens, their eyesight deteriorates, and occupational diseases develop. Antioxidants accelerate the healing process, help to increase longevity, reduce tissue damage.
Consider the causes of depletion of the stock of carotenoids, minerals, vitamins in the human body and that enhances the formation of free radicals:
- Heat exposure.
- Pollution of the atmosphere, water, pesticides, household chemicals.
- Tobacco smoking.
- Ultraviolet rays of the sun, radiation.
- Injuries and wounds.
- Excessive physical activity.
- Infection with parasites, viruses, bacteria.
- Lack of natural antioxidants in the diet.
Symptoms of an antioxidant deficiency in the body:
- dry skin;
- irritability, nervousness;
- decrease in visual acuity, sexual function;
- bleeding gums;
- muscle weakness;
- frequent infectious diseases;
- goose bumps on elbows;
- low performance;
- poor sleep;
- loss of teeth, hair;
- the appearance of premature wrinkles, rashes;
- growth retardation.
When individual intolerance of vitamins and minerals – antioxidants, the need for compounds decreases.
Excess: why does it arise and how to define it?
The reasons for the increased concentration of antioxidants in the body:
- long-term use of medicines with a high content of vitamins E, C, A;
- abuse of products that have high antioxidant capacity;
- admission connection with individual intolerance.
Excess of natural antioxidants, supplied with food, does not pose a threat to human health and is easily excreted from the body. An overdose of synthetic antioxidants (vitamin-mineral complexes) can cause hypervitaminosis, which is accompanied by impaired functioning of internal organs and systems.
Characteristic signs of an excess of antioxidants in the body:
- headache, dizziness;
- increased breathing;
- visual disturbance;
- pain in the heart, stomach;
- cramps, spasms;
- fatigue, weakness, apathy;
- muscle pain;
- digestive disorders;
- violation of the menstrual cycle (in women);
- skin irritation;
- increased intracranial pressure;
- joint pain.
Despite the undeniable benefits of antioxidants, an excessive amount of synthetic compounds in the body causes harm to the body.
Overdose leads to the formation of stones in the kidneys, gall bladder, heart problems, atrophy of the adrenal glands, damage to white blood cells, allergic reactions, enlargement of the liver and spleen in size. To avoid these consequences strictly control the level of consumption of synthetic vitamins, minerals – antioxidants.
The greatest amount of antioxidants is concentrated in fruits and vegetables of bright colors – red, orange, yellow, violet, blue shades.
To get the maximum portion of nutrients and biological antioxidants, these foods should be eaten raw or slightly steamed.
Any heat treatment (boiling, roasting, roasting) of fruits and vegetables for 15 and more minutes kills beneficial compounds, reduces the nutritional value of the product.
Table № 1 “Antioxidant ability of products”
|Name of the best antioxidant products||Antioxidant capacity per gram|
|Berries and fruits|
|Little red beans||149.31|
|Plain red beans||144.23|
According to the research results of the Boston University in the USA, plant products, in particular, spices, show the greatest antioxidant capacity.
Table No. 2 “Ten Best Products – Antioxidants”
|Name of fruits and vegetables||The number of antioxidant units per 100 grams of product|
Other natural sources of antioxidants: tomatoes, pumpkin, carrots, grapefruit, nectarine, persimmon, apricots, mango, peach, papaya, strawberry, zucchini, whole grains, fresh juices from pomegranate, grapes, apples, cherries, chokeberry.
These products neutralize free radicals, increase immunity, activate enzyme activity and reduce the risk of developing degenerative diseases.
Medicines – Antioxidants
Unfavorable environmental conditions, bad habits (smoking), work on hazardous production cause an increased need of the body for antioxidants.
As a result of natural biological antioxidants that come with food, it is not enough, which leads to the depletion of carotenoids, minerals, vitamins. In order to prevent the deficiency of beneficial nutrients in the body, the use of synthetic forms of the compound (in tablet or capsulated form) becomes necessary.
The most useful medicinal antioxidants:
- Liping. It belongs to the category of natural phosphatidine cholines. It exhibits a pronounced antihypoxic effect, increases the rate of oxygen tissue diffusion, stimulates the activity of epithelial cells. Lipin inhibits the peroxidation of triglycerides in tissues, blood plasma, acts as a detoxifying agent. It is used as an immunomodulating drug that can affect the general metabolism, the digestive system.
- Coenzyme Q10. This coenzyme, which has strong antioxidant activity, optimizes the process of oxidative phosphorylation. Due to these properties, coenzyme Q10 improves cell energy supply. In addition, the drug restores the activity of tocopherol to fight free radicals, helps to neutralize their detrimental effects on the body. As a result, the substance protects DNA and cell membranes from damage. Ubiquinone, which is part of the coenzyme, slows down the aging process and activates blood circulation.
- Glutargin. The compound is a combination of glutamic acid and arginine salt. The main role of the drug is to neutralize and remove toxic ammonia from the human body. Glutargin has hepatoprotective properties, has antihypoxic, membrane stabilizing, antioxidant effects. Used to relieve symptoms of alcohol intoxication, treatment of liver diseases.
- Dibikor, Kratal. The drugs exhibit stress-protective, hypoglycemic, neurotransmitter, antioxidant and antiarrhythmic action on the body. They improve myocardial contractility, reduce blood pressure, eliminate mood lability, cardiac glycoside intoxication manifestations. They are recommended for use in heart failure, endocrine disorders, vegetative neurosis, treatment of neurocirculatory dystonias.
- Asparkam, Panangin. The drugs contain potassium and magnesium, which regulate metabolic processes in the human body, providing an antiarrhythmic effect. They contribute to the restoration of electrolyte balance. Asparkam participates in muscle contractions, the transmission of impulses along nerve fibers, the synthesis of RNA, and the maintenance of normal heart function. Included in the structure of DNA, stimulates intercellular phosphate synthesis, prevents excessive release of catecholamine during stress. Panagin triggers the motility of the digestive tract, promotes the penetration of potassium ions, magnesium into the intracellular space, and strengthens the immune system. caused by electrolyte disturbances, intoxication with digitalis drugs. In addition, panangin and asparkam are prescribed as an adjuvant for shock conditions, coronary heart disease, hypokalemia and hypomagnesemia, and chronic circulatory failure.
- Essentiale. The active substance of the drug ̶ essential phospholipids, which are similar in chemical structure to endogenous membrane phospholipids. However, they are superior in their functional properties due to the high level of linoleic acid in the composition.
Phospholipids are the main structural element of cell membranes, organel. Compounds are involved in cell division, regeneration, and differentiation. Essentials improves membrane function, biological oxidation, ion exchange, intracellular respiration. In addition, the drug affects oxidative phosphorylation in the energy metabolism of cells, increases the detoxification ability of the liver, and restores membrane-bound enzyme systems.
Thus, substrates of free radical oxidation (lipin, essentiale), bioaxidants (coenzyme Q10) and drugs of peptides, nucleic acids, amino acids (glutargin, panangin, asparcum, dibicor, cofold) exhibit powerful antioxidant properties, protect, reactivate cells from damage and have strong immunomodels action.
Vitamin preparations – antioxidants
Water- (cyanocobalamin, rutin, quercetin, nicotinamide, nicotinic, axorbic acid), fat-soluble (tocopherol, retinol) vitamins and minerals (chromium, manganese, zinc, selenium, copper) exhibit a pronounced antioxidant capacity. To achieve a powerful antioxidant effect, the intake of these nutrients must be combined.
Consider the popular complexes that will help quench vitamin hunger without fear of overdose. One – two pills a day guarantee protection of the body against the destructive action of free radicals and beriberi. The course of treatment is – 1 – 2 of the month. Take the complex should be daily for one or two tablets (according to the manufacturer’s instructions) after a meal, drinking 150 with milliliters of water.
Vitamin and mineral antioxidants:
- Vitrum Forte Q10. It improves the blood supply to vital organs, slows down the premature “wear” of the systems, lowers the level of cholesterol in the blood.
- Vitrum antioxidant. The composition of one pill includes vitamins and minerals with strong antioxidant abilities (zinc, manganese, selenium, copper, tocopherol, ascorbic acid, retinol). The complex is designed to enhance the body’s resistance to acute respiratory viral infections, prevent hypovitaminosis, protect cells from the aggressive effects of free radicals. Vitrum-antioxidant lowers the likelihood of heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. individual intolerance to the components.
- Selen forte. A distinctive feature of this drug is the minimum of the constituent substances with the maximum antioxidant activity of the drug. One tablet contains a daily dose of selenium and vitamin E. The drug exhibits antioxidant, immunomodulatory and detoxifying properties, participates in the metabolism, supports the cardiovascular system in normal conditions. Selenium forte protects cell membranes, enhances the antioxidant ability of tocopherol, supports the sexual activity of men and the elasticity of blood vessels.
- Synergin The peculiarity of this drug is a combination of water-soluble, lipophilic antioxidants in the composition, which increase the effectiveness of neutralizing free radicals inside each cell and all tissues. The composition of synergy includes rutin, beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, E, lipoic and succinic acids, ubiquinone (a component of the coenzyme Q10), magnesium oxide, lycopene.
- Resveralgin. It is a biologically active food supplement that contains selenium, coenzyme Q10, resveratrol, vitamins C, E, iodine, flavonoids, beta-carotene. This medicine contains powerful antioxidants and exhibits synergy-like properties.
Thus, antioxidants are the most important compounds for the human body that inhibit oxidation at the cellular level, protect membranes from damage, neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals, and show an immunomodulatory function. Lack of substances worsens the state of health, leads to premature aging of the skin, reduces performance, increases the risk of developing malignant tumors.
A daily intake of foods with a high antioxidant capacity will help to maintain the amount of beneficial compounds in normal. Smokers “with experience”, people older than 40 years, fast food lovers and people living in a region with poor ecology, to fill the lack of antioxidants in the body, it is recommended to use additional vitamin-mineral complexes.