Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Antioxidant Vitamins

The antioxidant vitamins perform many essential tasks within the body. In recent years, a great deal of research has been done concerning the abilities of the antioxidant vitamins to prevent certain diseases, ranging from cancer to heart ailments. Many studies have shown promising results, and researchers continue their efforts at determining all of the ways that these powerful antioxidant vitamins protect our health and well being.

One of the many important tasks that antioxidant vitamins perform is that of bringing free radicals under control. A free radical is an unstable molecule, operating within the much larger context of a cell. What makes it unstable is that it is lacking an electron. Electrons are a part of the system that enables chemical reactions within the body. Chemical and electrical actions and reactions are the base of all operations of the body.

The free radical lacks an electron because it is the result of the splitting of a structure weakened by either one of the body’s natural metabolizing processes or by some external contaminant, such as pollution or cigarette smoke. The free radical attacks other molecules, seeking its missing part, which leads to its molecule victim becoming a free radical as well. When enough free radicals accumulate with a cell, the cell can be damaged, or worse.

Antioxidant vitamins have the power to bring these free radicals under control. They do this by meeting the free radicals’ most basic needs, by giving them the electrons they need to be stable. Thus, the antioxidant vitamins remove the free radicals’ motive for aggression and crime -- their motive to attack other molecules to steal their electrons, thereby creating still more free radicals -- and bring an end to the free radical crime wave that threatened the very existence of their world and restore social order and peace to their world, the cell, and perhaps even to their universe, the body.

The primary antioxidant vitamins are Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and Vitamin A. They do not become free radical themselves when they give an electron to the unstable molecule, because they have the special capacity to remain stable with or without the electron. It is through this interaction with the free radicals that the antioxidant vitamins are able to assist in the prevention of damage to tissues and cells that could lead to disease.

Numerous studies have found that the antioxidant vitamins may offer protection against a variety of cancers. Other studies have associated antioxidant vitamins with helping to lower blood pressure. Controlling free radicals, as the antioxidant vitamins do, is thought to be an important part of defending the body and the mind against the effects of aging.

In addition to continuous studies concerning antioxidant vitamins potential in preventing cancers, heart disease, and diabetes related conditions, researchers are also paying close attention to the possibilities antioxidant vitamins may hold for Alzheimer's disease.

Dietary supplements offer a safe and convenient means of meeting the suggested daily intake requirements of these powerful antioxidant vitamins, provided that the standard dosage recommendations are followed.

The chemical balance that allows the body to operate at peak performance can be seriously disrupted by taking too much of any supplement. A licensed nutritionist or your health care provider can best advise you on the dosage most suitable to your individual dietary needs and health goals.

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