The following are 5 reasons to take a high quality antioxidant complex
- Antioxidants are very important for health and longevity and are found in nature in the form of fruit and vegetables. Antioxidants help neutralise the free radicals which cause excessive oxidation in our body: Free radicals cause damage to our DNA, leading to abnormal cell growth, they also damage structural proteins such as the skin, the joints and blood vessels. In fact they are associated with most degenerative and inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer's, cancer, cataracts and diabetes and even premature ageing as they cause the skin to sag and loose elasticity. The relative immunity of the Mediterrean cultures to heart disease clearly due to components of the diet, for example the flavonoids in red wine, and other anti-oxidant components such as lutein in green leafy vegetables, and lycopene in tomatoes.
- But although free radicals are a normal by-product of our metabolism, most people do not eat a healthy and well-balanced diet every day with sufficient antioxidants to neutralise them. The USDA Food Consumption Survey discovered that only 3 % of those surveyed actually ate proper balanced diets. Therefore it is a challenge for most of us to get the amount we need for protection.
- Also, today's fast-paced lifestyle makes our need for antioxidants much greater: Free radicals are produced in much higher quantities when we drink excess alcohol, if we smoke, when we are stressed and from living in a polluted environment. Eating convenience food full of sugar and fried fats also increases free radical production. Unfortunately many people today rely on convenience food and modern life makes stress reduction difficult; and living in a low-pollution environment is just not an option for most of us.
- Even for those people who can confidently say they eat their 5 portions of fruit and vegetable a day, it is important to note that the food we eat now does not contain the same amount of nutrition as it did in the past. Intensive farming methods these days strip the soil of valuable minerals which are not replaced and once gone from the soil they are gone forever. Therefore, the same amount of broccoli, for instance, contains less vitamin C than it did 50 years ago. The soil is now especially low in selenium- low selenium levels increases your risk of heart disease and cancer and brazil nuts – once a rich source- contain significantly less than before. The over processed and preservative added food also removes important nutrients. Consuming even a very good diet is not sufficient if most of the nutrients in our food are diminished by over processing and adding preservatives.
- What we can easily do, however, is take an antioxidant food supplement and studies show that these can make a significant difference to the maintenance of optimum health. However, taking a single antioxidant product such as vitamin C and vitamin E may not provide sufficient protection. What people often don't realise is that antioxidants work best when in synergy and it is better to take a mixture of antioxidants rather than rely on singular supplementation which some claim to be toxic in excess. Research has shown that antioxidants support and recycle each other, for instance vitamin E works better if it is supported by selenium. Food naturally contains an antioxidant blend and any specific antioxidant can perform only a small fraction of these functions; therefore our body needs a complex of antioxidants to be fully protected.
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Alpha-Guard is one of the very best antioxidant supplement formulations on the market.
It provides a synergistic blend of ten of the most effective antioxidant nutrients. As well as stalwart antioxidant vitamins such as Vitamins C and E, it contains antioxidant minerals which tend to be low in the soil (zinc and selenium) and extracts of many of the compounds in fruit and vegetables with protective qualities: It contains an especially high dosage of OPC grape seed extract (60mg), one of the most protective nutrients there is. OPC Grape Seed Extract is an extract of red grapes, rich in the French diet which 20 x more potent than vitamin C, 50 x more potent than vitamin E. It not only protects and recycles other antioxidants, making them more effective, it also benefits the circulatory system, helping to prevent the excessive deterioration of collagen and elastin- the fibres in our skin that give it its elasticity and firmness. It therefore helps maintain healthy blood vessel walls, joints and skin. In addition, it can help minimize histamine production, so may minimize allergic reactions (helpful to allergy and hayfever sufferers).
Alpha-lipoic acid is another extremely potent antioxidant and one of the few than can enter the blood-brain barrier to help maintain optimum cognitive function, so is useful for brain health. It also increases detoxification in the body (particularly for removing heavy metals from the body associated with some diseases such as Alzheimer's) and helps sustain normal blood glucose levels, so may be useful to prevent diabetes.
Curcumin is another brain-protective nutrient found in the spice turmeric. The low incidence of Alzheimer's in India may be due to the high consumption of this nutrient. It has powerful anti-inflammatory benefits and helps maintain healthy skin, joints and connective tissue
Quercetin, found in apples and onions is another natural bioflavonoid with anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory properties. Bilberry (blueberries) & Lutein (kale/spinach) are known to support the vision and may protect against macular degeneration. Beta-carotene (carrots) & lycopene (tomatoes) are carotenoids which are protective of the skin and prostate gland. Studies have shown people who eat significant amounts of tomatoes have less risk of sun damage and therefore premature ageing of the skin.
Green tea (caffeine-free) benefits the cardiovascular system and may be one of the reasons the Japanese have a low incidence of cancer.