Antioxidants counter the oxidative harm caused by reactive oxygen species which are damaging to the cells in your body. Oxidative stress is caused by normal oxidative metabolism by giving rise to free radicals which create the changes characteristic of aging. Some of this is natural and some of it is due to extrinsic factors such as smoking, exposure to sun rays and ultraviolet radiation, cold, heat, smog, dust, faulty diet, exercise, sleep habits, stress and disease.
The most visible effect of aging is skin aging, sagging and wrinkles. This is aggravated by solar UV radiation by exposure to sun and is called photoaging. Daily exposure to sun especially to UVB rays is damaging to skin. UVA also causes damage deeper and is 20 fold higher especially during the summer. The damage due to oxidative stress in your body causes the cells to lose normal functioning of mitochondria, DNA, ribosomes, electrone transport, telomere repair. This can lead to inflammatory response, cell membrane damage and can cause impaired immune response and cancer. ANTIOXIDANTS help minimize this damage by interaction or elimination of free radicals or reactive oxygen species or their by-products.
The following are the best known antioxidants:
- Ascorbic acid also known as Vitamin C Tocopherols
- Tocotrienols known as Vitamin E Lipoic Acid SOD -superoxide dismutases
- Catalase and quinone reductase GSH -glutathione enzymes peroxidases
- Reductase and S-transferases NAC: N- acetyl cysteine (by increasing GSH levels in tissues)
- Isothiocyanates (Sulforaphane)
- Nordihydroguiaretic Acid
- Green tea polyphenols
- Plant Polyphenols
- Ubiquinone (Co Q10) also known as Co-enzyme Q 10
- Carotenoids(Lycopene, Lutein/Zeaxanthine, Vitamin A)