Antioxidant Vitamins: What Are They?

Antioxidant Vitamins: What Are They?

Antioxidant substance

By “antioxidants” we mean that category of chemical substances capable of blocking the action of  free radicals , responsible – if produced in excess and not adequately counterbalanced – of cellular oxidation, therefore of aging and some pathologies.

Vitamin A , vitamin C and vitamin E play the role of three of the most powerful vitamin antioxidants found in nature.

Free radicals

But let’s take a step back to understand why free radicals are so dangerous.

Free radicals are molecules that lack an electron to reach stability: consequently, radicals attack healthy molecules to rob them of an electron, triggering a dangerous chain reaction, a sort of chemical bomb that creates oxidative stress and lays the foundations for cellular aging and, sometimes, for certain pathological forms.

Vitamins A, C and E

Therefore, the  ACE vitamin complex  is known for its anti-radical properties, so much so that some dare to use the term “miraculous” to make people understand the effects that can be obtained from these vitamins.

On the other hand, most scholars do not believe that a vitamin integration  for antioxidant purposes can effectively counteract the onset of certain pathologies, provided that the diet is complete and balanced and the individual is healthy. Various researches have focused on the interaction between antioxidant vitamins and  cardiovascular diseases , but in this regard it has not yet been fully demonstrated that vitamin supplementation actually prevents these disorders.

Despite this, a good portion of the American population regularly takes food supplements  based on vitamins A, C and E. According to the American Heart Association, it would be a good habit to follow a correct diet , rich in fruit, vegetables and whole foods , to ensure body a fair amount of vitamins, antioxidants in particular: if we consider, however, the sick, it would be more appropriate to recommend an integration of antioxidants, since their immune defenses are weak  at  that moment. The task of pronouncing on the actual usefulness of a vitamin supplement in these circumstances belongs – even more so – exclusively to the doctor.

C vitamin

Vitamin C is water soluble ( water soluble vitamin ) and is found abundantly in  citrus fruits ,  strawberries ,  kiwifruit ,  cauliflower ,  parsley  and  peppers .

Vitamin C, or  ascorbic acid , enjoys the reputation of being one of the most powerful antioxidants in nature: the body does not have the ability to synthesize this vitamin, therefore it must be taken with the diet.

Vitamin C works as a redox system, as it is able to reduce itself from  ascorbic acid to dehydroascorbic acid and vice versa.

Furthermore, it affects various cellular processes, such as the metabolism of collagen and the synthesis of  neurotransmitters , stimulates the activity of  antibodies , renders some toxins inactive and slows down the hydrolysis of  cholesterol .

Vitamin E

There are various forms of vitamin E in nature: four tocopherols and four tocotrienols ; it is a powerful antioxidant that belongs to the category of  fat-soluble vitamins , therefore unlike Vitamin C it is soluble in fats. For this reason, it is found in  vegetable oils  in particular, but  milk  and  eggs also register the presence of this vitamin, albeit in lower doses.

It is by far the most powerful antioxidant, which manages to “recharge” even vitamin C.

In addition to performing this important function, vitamin E manages to block the production of nitrosamines , potential culprits of  stomach cancer . It also protects cell membranes from oxidation.

It should be remembered that tocotrienols can only be obtained from vegetable sources such as  palm oil  and  brown rice , whose tocotrienols content is of considerable importance.

Vitamin E deficiency can be caused by  celiac disease  and  Crohn’s disease .

As for the antioxidant action of vitamin E, it boasts the ability to block the chain of radical reactions, which would form peroxidic radicals, therefore ageing.

Vitamin E is also widely exploited by the world of cosmetics, as a powerful antioxidant: it is omnipresent in anti-wrinkle and dark circle creams , precisely because it prevents the spread of oxidizing forms. The skin is always the target of various forms of pollution ( exhaust gases , environmental pollution, smoke , stress ), so cosmetologists aim to protect the skin from  oxidative damage to which it is continually exposed, and it seems that vitamin And you play a very important role in preventing aging.

Vitamin A

It is inaccurate to speak of vitamin A when referring to antioxidants: it is more correct to understand  beta-carotene as the real antioxidant, precursor of vitamin A, which in nature is found above all in green leafy vegetables, cherries ,  plums ,  Brussels sprouts , cabbage and  carrots . This antioxidant is involved in the protection against pollutants, counteracts  night blindness , contributes to the formation of  bones  and  teeth , is effective in tissue repair.

However, researchers do not give certainties on how antioxidants can prevent serious disorders such as various forms of cancer, nor if in fact these substances play a decisive role in preventing them; scholars have found a considerable importance of antioxidants as substances capable of preventing oxidation, but there are no large-scale epidemiological studies capable of establishing their effective usefulness in the prevention of serious diseases such as tumors or cardiovascular diseases, much less confirming their safety of use in high doses for prolonged periods of time.



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