Antioxidants fact sheet, FAQ and product listing page. This page contains everything you need to know about antioxidants.

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants refers to a group of compounds that fights free radicals. To understand the primary responsibility of an antioxidant, you must first understand what a free radical is. A free radical is group of atoms or simply atoms that have an odd number of electrons and can form when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Once this happens and a few free radicals form, a chain reaction occurs and they take over your immune system and other physiological functions and have a very negative effect on your body.

There are several different groups and substances categorized as being antioxidants. Most of the common ones are beta carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E. There are also several minerals that function as antioxidants, including magnesium, zinc, and copper.

Many bodybuilders use antioxidants for their potential to enhance recovery from training or other athletic endeavors.

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What foods contain antioxidants?

You can find antioxidants in a variety of plant foods, especially those with bright colors. The highest ranked foods in the four major categories include:

  • Fruits: blueberries, cranberries, and blackberries
  • Vegetables: beans, artichoke hearts, and russet potatoes
  • Nuts: pecans, walnuts, and hazelnuts
  • Spices: cinnamon, oregano, and cloves

Other everyday foods you can find rich in antioxidants include red apples, green apples, and cherries. It's recommend that because there are so many different types of antioxidants, it's best to eat a wide range of foods that contain it.

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What do antioxidants do?

Antioxidants have crucial roles in many of the operations of your body. They work primarily as preventions for diseases, as well as the treatment for diseases.

Disease Prevention:
Antioxidants can help prevent the damaging effects of free radicals. Those that are found to eat high proportions of fruit and vegetables with antioxidants have a lower risk of cancer, as well as heart disease and some neurological diseases. This leads many to believe that antioxidants prevent conditions like macular degeneration, suppress immunity, and effects caused by oxidative stress (neurodegeneration).

Disease Treatment:
Antioxidants are commonly used as medications when treating various brain injuries. In addition, antioxidants are being studied right now to see if they are reliable treatment in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Effects antioxidants has on performance:

  1. Increases endurance
  2. Protects against diseases and illnesses
  3. Lessens the recovery time needed after workouts

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Who can benefit from using antioxidants supplements?

Everybody can benefit from taking antioxidants, as they help your body fight off infections diseases. One study showed that runners using antioxidant supplements participating in running and marathons in high elevations perform better than those runners that are not.[1]

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What are the healthy recommended dosages for antioxidants?

The following are RDAs, or Recommended Daily Allowances for 98% of the adults.

Antioxidant RDA Maximum (adults)
Vitamin E 15 mg 1,070 mg natural vitamin E
785 mg synthetic vitamin E
Vitamin C Women: 75 mg
Men: 90 mg
2,000 mg
Beta-carotene None None
Selenium 55 micrograms 400 micrograms

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Do antioxidants have any side effects?

Not if taken in normal, healthy doses.

However, taking too many antioxidants can be cause more harm than good when it comes to exercise. During exercise, the amount of oxygen our body's consume multiplies by an amount more than 10 times. This leads to large amounts of oxidants being produced and in result can lead to muscular fatigue during and after exercise. These oxidants cause damage to our body and in result, our immune system responds to repair this said damage. During this process, neutrophils (white blood cells) produce free radicals to remove damaged tissue. Excessive levels of antioxidants have the potential

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References: [1] Antioxidants and Physical Performance (review) Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 35(1&2):131-141 (1995).