Antioxidants

Antioxidants (biological antioxidants) - a group of compounds that includes carotenoids, minerals, vitamins.

These substances guard cell health. They neutralize free radicals, prevent membrane damage, maintain strength and beauty. 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, oncological, and cardiovascular diseases.

Antioxidants are used in the production of bioadditives, pharmaceuticals, in the food industry, as a preservative, to reduce spoilage of products in production, to slow down the gumming of fuel and stabilize the fuel.

Most famous antioxidants:

There are the following types of biological antioxidants:

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 of these compounds. “Traveling” through the body, free radicals take away the desired electron from full-fledged molecules, which disrupts metabolic and signaling pathways in organs and affects human health. Damaged cells cease to function fully, “oxidative stress” develops.

The reasons for the formation of free radicals in the human body are taking medications, radiation, poor ecology, smoking, ultraviolet radiation.

The consequences of the destructive action of aggressive oxidizing agents on vital structures are tragic.

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Under the influence of free radicals develop:

Free radical compounds cause inflammation in tissues, brain cells, nervous system, accelerate aging, impair immune function. They affect DNA, which leads to a change in hereditary information.

To date, no agent has been invented that prevents the appearance of free radicals in the body. However, if it weren’t for antioxidants, a person would get sick much longer, harder, more often.

Biological antioxidants intercept the radical molecule, giving it its own electron, thereby protecting the cells of organs and systems from damage. At the same time, the antioxidants themselves do not lose their stability after the detachment of the negatively charged particle.

The compounds block the oxidative process, promote cleansing, cell renewal, and have a rejuvenating effect on the skin.

Antioxidants are an ecological landing force that guards the health of the human body.

The role of vitamin antioxidants

The largest free radical scavengers in the body are vitamins C, E, A.

These antioxidants can be obtained from food, but due to a highly polluted environment, the human need for these substances increases every year, as a result, it becomes more difficult 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 internal organs, improve the general well-being of a person.

The role of antioxidants:

  1. Vitamin E (tocopherol). Embedded in cell membranes, reflects the attack of free radicals, prevents destruction, tissue damage. In addition, vitamin E slows down peroxidation, stabilizes intracellular processes. Tocopherol stops premature aging of the skin, prevents the development of cataracts, strengthens the immune system, and improves oxygen absorption.
  2. Vitamin A (retinol). This antioxidant is able to be partially synthesized from beta-carotene, which, in turn, softens the effects of chemical and radioactive pollution, electromagnetic radiation, and increases the body's resistance to stress. Vitamin A protects the mucous membranes of internal organs and 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 the level of cholesterol, and prevents heart disease and strokes. With a chronic lack of retinol, the activity of free radicals increases, dry skin is noted, and vision deteriorates.
  3. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Protects brain cells and other antioxidants (tocopherol) from free radicals. Vitamin C increases the synthesis of interferon, neutralizes toxins, stimulates the functioning of nerve cells. Interestingly, one cigarette smoked destroys 100 milligrams of ascorbic acid.

Remember, vitamins by themselves exhibit insufficient antioxidant activity and without the combined action of minerals cannot fully protect the body from damaging factors (endogenous and exogenous).

The value of minerals - antioxidants

Macro- and microcompounds enhance the action of vitamins, have anti-allergic, immunomodulatory, antitumor, anti-inflammatory, vasodilating and bactericidal properties.

Natural minerals - antioxidants contribute to the healing of body cells, protect membranes from destructive excessive oxidation.

Consider what organic compounds "protect" the body from harmful radicals:

  1. Selenium. This element is included in the active center of the enzyme glutathione peroxidase, which destroys peroxide compounds, it also supports the functioning of the heart, liver, lungs, and blood cells. The mineral stimulates the response of antibodies to infectious pathogens, protects membranes from damage. Selenium is a blocker of redox transformations of metals. A lack of a nutrient can cause antioxidants to start supporting free radical processes in the body.
  2. Zinc. Promotes the absorption of vitamin A, DNA and RNA repair, maintains a normal concentration of tocopherol in the body, protects the human genome from free radicals, maintaining its stability.
  3. Copper. Normalizes cellular metabolism, is a component of the superoxide dismutase enzyme, which neutralizes reactive oxygen species. Lack of copper in the body leads to a decrease in resistance to colds and SARS - infections.
  4. Chrome. Participates in carbohydrate and fat metabolism. Increases the reserve capacity of the body, accelerates the conversion of glucose into glycogen, increases endurance.
  5. Manganese. The antioxidant is also included in the active site of superoxide dismutase, which protects the polyunsaturated fatty acids of cell membranes from attack by free radicals. Manganese improves the absorption of tocopherol, vitamins C and group B.

Foods richest in antioxidants are grapes, blueberries, ginseng, green tea, medicinal mushrooms (meitake, reishi, cordyceps, veselka, shiitake ). Despite the abundance of these products in the human menu, it remains defenseless against the damaging effects of free radicals on cells.

According to the Scientific Research Institute of Food Hygiene, today 50% of people are deficient in vitamin A in the body, and 85% of ascorbic acid, minerals. The reason for this is emotional and physical overstrain and stress, as a result of which there is an increased burning of nutrients, unbalanced nutrition, a sharp depletion of soils, environmental degradation.

Antioxidants, in the form of dietary supplements, fully cover the body's need for useful compounds, protect against oxidizing agents, 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. cells increase lifespan.

Daily Value

For the normal functioning of the nervous system and maintaining the health of internal organs, it is recommended to consume antioxidant vitamins and minerals daily in the following dosage:

  • zinc - 8 mg for women, 11 mg for men than from products of animal origin);
  • selenium - 55 mcg;
  • vitamin E - 15 mg;
  • ascorbic acid - 75 mg for women, 90 mg for men (smokers are recommended to increase the dosage by 45%, to 110, 125 mg respectively)
  • vitamin A - from 1 to 1.5 mg;
  • copper - 2.5 mg;
  • chromium - from 100 to 150 mcg;
  • manganese - from 3.0 to 4.0 mg;
  • beta-carotene - from 3.0 to 6.0 mg.

Remember, the daily requirement for antioxidants depends on the state of health, the presence of concomitant diseases, sex and age of the person.

Causes and signs of deficiency

With insufficient intake of antioxidants in the body, people lose their clarity of thinking, work capacity decreases, immunity weakens, vision deteriorates, and chronic diseases develop. Antioxidants speed up the healing process, help increase life expectancy, and reduce tissue damage.

Consider the reasons for the depletion of carotenoids, minerals, vitamins in the human body and what increases the formation of free radicals:

  1. Exposure to heat.
  2. Stress.
  3. Air pollution, water, pesticides, household chemicals.
  4. Tobacco smoking.
  5. Ultraviolet rays of the sun, radiation.
  6. Injuries and wounds.
  7. Excessive exercise.
  8. Infection with parasites, viruses, bacteria.
  9. Lack of natural antioxidants in the diet.
  10. Hypoxia.

Antioxidant deficiency symptoms in the body:

  • apathy ;
  • dry skin;
  • fatigue;
  • increased irritability, nervousness;
  • decreased visual acuity, sexual function;
  • bleeding gums;
  • muscle weakness;
  • frequent infectious diseases;
  • goosebumps on elbows;
  • poor performance;
  • poor sleep;
  • depression;
  • loss of teeth, hair;
  • the appearance of premature wrinkles, rashes;
  • growth retardation.

With individual intolerance to vitamins and minerals - antioxidants, the need for compounds is reduced.

Excess: why does it occur and how to determine it?

Causes of increased concentration of antioxidants in the body:

  • long-term use of medications with a high content of vitamins E, C, A;
  • abuse of foods that have a high antioxidant capacity;
  • taking a compound for individual intolerance.

An excess of natural antioxidants from 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 disturbances in the functioning of internal organs and systems.

Characteristic signs of an excess of antioxidants in the body:

  • headache, dizziness;
  • increased breathing ;
  • impaired visual perception;
  • pain in the region of the heart, stomach;
  • convulsions, spasms;
  • fatigue, weakness, apathy;
  • muscle pain;
  • nausea;
  • heartburn;
  • digestive disorders;
  • insomnia;
  • menstrual disorders;
  • skin irritation;
  • increased intracranial pressure;
  • joint pain.
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Despite the undeniable benefits of antioxidants, an excessive amount of synthetic compounds in the body causes harm to the body.

Overdose leads to kidney stones, gallbladder, heart problems, adrenal atrophy, white blood cell damage, allergic reactions, enlarged liver and spleen. To avoid these consequences, it is necessary to strictly control the level of consumption of synthetic vitamins, minerals - antioxidants.

Natural sources

The largest amount of antioxidants is concentrated in fruits and vegetables of bright colors - red, orange, yellow, purple, blue.

To get the maximum amount of nutrients and biological antioxidants, these foods should be eaten raw or lightly steamed.

Any heat treatment (boiling, frying, baking) of fruits and vegetables for 15 minutes or more destroys useful compounds, reduces the nutritional value of the product.

Table No. 1 "Antioxidant capacity of foods"
List of foods high in antioxidants Food antioxidant activity per gram
Berries and fruits
Cranberry 94.66
Wild blueberry 92.50
Black plum 73.49
White plum 62.29
Cultivated blueberries 62.10
Nuts
Pecans 179.50
) Walnut 135.51
Hazelnut (hazelnut) 135.51
Pistachios 79.93
Almonds 44.64
Vegetables
Small red beans 149.31
Regular red beans 144.23
String beans 123.69
Artichokes 94.19
Black beans 80.50
Spices
Cloves 3144.56
Ground cinnamon 2675.46
Oregano leaf [26 6]2001.39
Turmeric 1592, 87
Dried parsley 743.59

According to the results of research by Boston University in the USA, plant products, in particular spices, have the highest antioxidant capacity.

Table No. 2 “Top Ten Antioxidant Foods”
Fruit and vegetable names Amount of antioxidant units per 100 grams of product
Prunes 5.780
Raisins 2.840
Blueberry 2.410
Blackberry 2.046
Cabbage 1.780
Strawberry 1.550
Spinach 1.270
Raspberry 1.230
Brussels sprouts 0.985
Plum 0.959
Alfalfa sprouts 0.940
Broccoli (flowers) 0.897
Beets 0.850
Oranges 0.760
Red grape 0.749
Red pepper 0.720
Cherry 0.680
Onion 0.460
Grain 0.410
Eggplant 0.393

Other natural sources of anti oxidants: tomatoes, pumpkin, carrots, grapefruit, nectarine, persimmon, apricots ], mango, peach, papaya, strawberry, zucchini, whole grains, freshly squeezed pomegranate juices, grapes, apples, cherries, chokeberry.

The inclusion of these products in the diet helps to neutralize free radicals, strengthen immunity, activate enzyme activity and reduce the risk of developing degenerative diseases.

Drugs - antioxidants

Unfavorable environmental conditions, bad habits (smoking, excessive alcohol consumption), work in hazardous industries cause an increased need for antioxidants in the body.

As a result of natural biological antioxidants supplied with food, it becomes insufficient, which leads to the depletion of carotenoids, minerals, vitamins. In order to prevent a deficiency of useful nutrients in the body, the use of synthetic forms of the compound (in tablet or encapsulated form) becomes necessary.

The most useful medicinal antioxidants:

  1. Lipin. Belongs to the category of natural phosphatidylcholines. Shows 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, and acts as a detoxifying agent. It is used as an immunomodulatory drug that can affect the overall metabolism, the digestive system.
  2. Coenzyme Q10. This is a coenzyme that has a pronounced antioxidant activity, optimizes the process of oxidative phosphorylation. Thanks to these properties, coenzyme Q10 improves the supply of cells with energy. In addition, the drug restores the activity of tocopherol to fight free radicals, helps to neutralize their harmful 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, activates blood circulation.
  3. Glutargin. The compound is a combination of glutamic acid and an arginine salt. The main role of the drug is to neutralize and remove toxic ammonia from the human body. Glutargin has a hepatoprotective property, has antihypoxic, membrane stabilizing, antioxidant effects. Used to relieve symptoms of alcohol intoxication, treat liver diseases.
  4. Dibikor, cratal. The drugs exhibit stress-protective, hypoglycemic, neurotransmitter, antioxidant and antiarrhythmic effects on the body. They improve myocardial contractility, lower blood pressure, eliminate mood lability, manifestations of intoxication with cardiac glycosides. Recommended for use in heart failure, endocrine disorders, vegetative neurosis, treatment of neurocirculatory dystonia.
  5. Asparkam, panangin. The preparations contain potassium and magnesium, which regulate metabolic processes in the human body, providing an antiarrhythmic effect. They help restore electrolyte balance. Asparkam is involved 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 synthesis of phosphates, prevents excessive release of catecholamine during stress. Panangin starts the motility of the digestive tract, promotes the penetration of potassium and magnesium ions into the intracellular space, and strengthens the immune system. The drugs are used to treat ventricular extrasystole, coronary insufficiency and cardiac arrhythmia caused by electrolyte disturbances, intoxication with digitalis preparations. In addition, panangin and asparkam are prescribed as an adjunct in shock conditions, coronary heart disease, hypokalemia and hypomagnesemia, and chronic circulatory failure.
  6. Essentiale. The active substance of the drug is 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, organelles. The compounds are involved in cell division, regeneration, differentiation. Essentiale 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 capacity of the liver, and restores membrane-bound enzyme systems.

Thus, free radical oxidation substrates (lipin, essentiale), biooxidants (coenzyme Q10) and preparations based on peptides, nucleic acids, amino acids (glutargin, panangin, asparkam, dibicor, cratal) exhibit powerful antioxidant properties, protect, reactivate cells from damage and have a strong immunomodulatory effect.

Vitamin preparations - antioxidants

Water-soluble vitamins (cyanocobalamin, rutin, quercetin, nicotinamide, nicotinic, ascorbic acids), fat-soluble (tocopherol, retinol) vitamins show a pronounced antioxidant ability and minerals (chromium, manganese, zinc, selenium, copper). To achieve the optimal antioxidant effect, the intake of these nutrients must be combined.

Consider popular complexes that will help satisfy vitamin hunger without fear of overdose. One - two tablets per day guarantee the protection of the body from the damaging effects of free radicals and beriberi. The course of treatment is - 1 - 2 months. The complex should be taken daily, one to two tablets (according to the manufacturer's instructions) after meals with 150 ml of water.

Vitamin and mineral antioxidants:

  1. Vitrum-forte Q10. It improves blood supply to vital organs, slows down premature “wear” of systems, and lowers cholesterol levels in the blood.
  2. Vitrum antioxidant. The composition of one tablet 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 ARVI diseases, prevent hypovitaminosis, protect cells from the aggressive action of free radicals. Vitrum-antioxidant reduces the likelihood of developing heart pathologies, oncological diseases. Contraindications to taking the drug: myocardial infarction, severe cardiosclerosis, pregnancy, lactation, thromboembolism, individual intolerance to the components.
  3. Selenium forte. A distinctive feature of this medication is a minimum of constituent substances with a maximum antioxidant activity of the drug. One tablet contains a daily dose of selenium and vitamin E. The agent exhibits antioxidant, immunomodulatory and detoxifying properties, participates in metabolism, and maintains the cardiovascular system in a normal state. Selenium forte protects cell membranes, enhances the antioxidant capacity of tocopherol, maintains the sexual activity of men and the elasticity of blood vessels.
  4. Sinergin. The peculiarity of this drug is the combination of water-soluble, lipophilic antioxidants in the composition, which increase the efficiency of neutralizing free radicals inside each cell, all tissues. Synergin contains rutin, beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, E, lipoic and succinic acids, ubiquinone (a constituent of coenzyme Q10), magnesium oxide, lycopene.
  5. Resveralgin. It is a biologically active food supplement that contains selenium, coenzyme Q10, resveratrol, vitamins C, E, iodine, flavonoids, beta-carotene. This drug contains powerful antioxidants and exhibits properties similar to synergine.

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 effect of free radicals, and exhibit an immunomodulatory function. The lack of substances worsens the state of health, leads to premature aging of the skin, reduces efficiency, and increases the risk of developing malignant tumors.

Daily intake of foods with high antioxidant capacity will help maintain healthy levels of beneficial compounds. Smokers "with experience", people over 40 years old, fast food lovers and people living in a region with poor ecology, to compensate for the lack of antioxidants in the body, it is recommended to additionally use vitamin and mineral complexes.

Sources
  1. Berezovsky V. M. – Chemistry of vitamins / Berezovsky V. M. - M.: Food industry, 1973. - 632 p.