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Tuesday, 01 May 2012 07:32

Are Antioxidants always Good for Body?

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Antioxidants help to fight against various diseases, but an overdose can turn out harmful rather than good.

antoxyOn every other day, you might come across an article published in newspaper, or health website or health magazine reporting a role of antioxidants for healthy body. Even most of us blindly start to eat too many fruits or antioxidant supplements considering it is the good way to keep diseases away. Don’t you think you must do a reality check before opting for such habit...why? Read below...

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants publicize as a universal cure-all, are naturally-occurring chemical molecules, which have a unique capability to inhibit or prevent an oxidative reaction. Antioxidants are synthesized inside the body as well as present in an ample amount in fruits and green leafy vegetables. They can be used as a food preservative or as dietary supplements.
Various vitamin, minerals and enzymes acts as antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenes, coenzyme Q, uric acid, lipoic acid, and glutathione.

Preventive role of antioxidants in various illnesses
Antioxidants have a powerful role in inhibition of free radical induced cellular damage. Oxidation is one of the chemical reactions taking place inside the cell as a part of a normal metabolic process. During oxidation, free radical, a highly reactive atom or molecule gets generated inside the cell. Free radical carries single unpaired electron and has a capacity to start oxidative chain reaction that can damage the cell.
Free radicals can also be generated due to exposure to sunlight, pollution and cigarette smoke. Free radical possesses an invariant threat to DNA damage and ultimately cell death. This can result in undue ageing and chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, heart and vascular diseases and rheumatoid arthritis.
Unique property of antioxidants to combat with free radical stops the oxidative chain reaction and prevents cell damage and subsequently controls various clinical problems.

Checking out reality

Excess is always harmful
Carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamin and minerals are five vital constituents of well-balanced diet and play a significant role in maintaining healthy body. All constituents when taken in a proper amount as per requirement of a body are beneficial. However, either deficiency or overdose of any one of these constituent results in various clinical manifestations. For example, say vitamin A, when deficient in the body result in night blindness; whereas overdose of vitamin A results in hypervitaminosis A, characterized by abnormal softening of skull bones.

Same hold true for antioxidant. Antioxidants when taken into proper doses are good for body but an overdose may cause harm rather than the benefit. Adding extra antioxidants to our diet gives no benefit -Says some expert,
Many trials where people have consumed higher than usual levels of antioxidants by taking supplements have found  that, if anything, they have a negative impact on health documents Daily mail.

Cochrane Review about antioxidant supplements
An updated Cochrane Review, published online demonstrates that antioxidant supplements seem to increase the death rate. According to review current evidence does not support the use of antioxidant supplements in the general population or in a patient with various diseases. The review that looked over 78 randomized clinical trials with enough statistical similarity for different clinical conditions and various antioxidant supplements concluded that those consuming antioxidants were 1.03 times as likely to die as those who had not consumed.
Increased death rate was associated with carotene and possibly with vitamin A and vitamin E but not associated with vitamin C or selenium.

JAMA Review
Similarly, a systematic and meta-analytic review published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) concluded that treatment with beta carotene, vitamin A and vitamin E increases death rate whereas a role of vitamin C and selenium is not clear.
Review is based on 68 randomized control trials, which involved searching of electronic databases and bibliography published by October 2005.

Why excessive antioxidants are harmful for body?
Article published in the Journal of The American College of Nutrition lined out the possible cause for harmful effects of antioxidant.

Free radicals are necessary in moderate concentration for the number of protective mechanisms within the body. Free radicals mediate phagocytosis (process in which defensive cells engulf and digest microorganism and cellular debris), apoptosis (programmed cell death; important to eliminate cancerous cells), and detoxification (removal of toxic substances from a body). Excessive antioxidants combat with free radicals and hence interfere with these protective mechanisms. This can be a possible reason for increased antioxidant associated death rate.

Another clinical trial last month showed that antioxidant supplements don’t slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s. Two 1994 clinical studies showed a possible increase in lung cancer when taking antioxidants reports Daily mail.

Requirements for healthy body
To stay healthy we need a bit of everything and nothing in excess.
Thus excessive antioxidants or only antioxidant intake is not sufficient for good health. Additionally well-balanced diet with inclusion of fruits and vegetables, daily exercise, sound sleep and stress-free life are basic requirements of the body to improve defensive power against diseases.

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Read 8114 times Last modified on Tuesday, 01 May 2012 08:12


  • Comment Link Dr. Garg Wednesday, 25 September 2013 19:41 posted by Dr. Garg

    No doubt that antioxidants are good for body but only antioxidants are not good for keeping the body healthy. Overdose of everything is harmful. When a body get all the things like balanced diet, good sleep, exercise in natural way, then is said to be healthy instead of only on antioxidants because it increase resistance power as well to fight against various disorders naturally.

  • Comment Link jagdish tolia Wednesday, 16 May 2012 20:08 posted by jagdish tolia

    good article,teach us the nature values about antioxidant items

  • Comment Link Muneer Wednesday, 02 May 2012 22:01 posted by Muneer

    it is interesting article and i go with the conclusion of the writer, but also it is true from brain storming despite the knowledge or anything else.... let us think in this way.. what if the earth is 1meter closer to sun, or what if the pregnancy lasts in human being for 12 months not 9months. What if... what if.... i think this is a good qsn one should think much about, and who is responsible.... I thank all for ur valuable time :)

  • Comment Link Margene Wednesday, 02 May 2012 21:57 posted by Margene

    Great article! This statement says it all...."To stay healthy we need a bit of everything and nothing in excess".

  • Comment Link Maria Wednesday, 02 May 2012 21:54 posted by Maria

    I have always discouraged taking fractionated, isolated vitamins, minerals, etc... This is not how God created them, and it is not how our bodies can absorb them properly. In the wrong "formulation", it can be very harmful. This is why the only supplementation I suggest is whole-food based. If anything claims to have a certain amount of a vitamin, mineral, etc (measurable), then it isn't whole-food based, and it is long-term harmful. It is not possible to overdose on antioxidants, when you are eating them in food form. Of course, I'm also assuming people aren't going to decide to eat only blueberries for all their meals, etc...
    The following link has peer-reviewed and gold-standard researched whole food based antioxidants:

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