Need of Antioxidants in daily life
Dr. F.T. Z. Jabeen.
Government First Grade College
BH Road, Tumkur – 572102. Karnataka, India.
In our daily life we usually neglect our body. If we keenly observe our routine then we'll notice that metabolism of our body is ruining day by day. It is very essential to keep body fit and fine. There are multiple medical treatments available for solving any health related problem. But we know that precaution is better than cure and that's why we need a product that not only cure health problem but also stops the reoccurrence of these issues.
Now a day we all are advised by doctors to eat foods that are rich in antioxidants. An obvious question that arises is what are antioxidants? Antioxidants are some nature based products that are just perfect for resolving all the problems; they are a combination of vitamins and minerals. Chemically, antioxidants are molecules which are capable of slowing or preventing the oxidation in our body which create free radicals that damage the body cells.
Free radicals: Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. As they are electrically charged molecules, i.e., they have an unpaired electron, which causes them to seek out and capture electrons from other substances in order to neutralize themselves. Although the initial attack causes the free radical to become neutralized, another free radical is formed in the process, causing a chain reaction to occur. And until subsequent free radicals are deactivated, thousands of free radical reactions can occur within seconds of the initial reaction. The danger comes from the damage they can do when they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane. Cells may function poorly or die if this occurs. These free radicals take over the reproductive properties of the cell and thus reproduce rapidly.
Mechanism by which free radicals cause damage and disease: Free radicals contribute to many different diseases. Chemically, a substance is oxidized when electrons are removed or reduced and when electrons are added. All chemical reactions involve the transfer of electrons. The body generates energy by gradually oxidizing its food in a controlled manner and storing it in the form of chemical potential energy, called ATP.
The oxidation of foodstuffs is like a controlled fire which liberates energy but can also let sparks fly, giving rise to potential damage. The sparks in this analogy are free electrons escaping the transport system. These unpaired electrons readily form free radical molecules which are chemically reactive and highly unstable. It is these free radical molecules which rapidly react with other molecules, setting off a chain reaction of free radical formation, somewhat similar to an atomic explosion. So now we have this molecule which is missing an electron and is dying to get its hands on an electron to help fill its need. This free radical now goes and steals an electron from another molecule that is more willing to give one up and thus it becomes satisfied, but now the victim molecule has become a free radical! This goes on for quite some time. We therefore call this process the chain reaction of free radicals.
Cell membranes are made of unsaturated lipids. The unsaturated lipid molecules of cell membranes are particularly susceptible to this damaging free radicals process and readily contribute to the uncontrolled chain reaction, this can lead to a breakdown or even hardening of lipids, which makeup all cell walls. If the cell wall is hardened then it becomes impossible for the cell to properly get its nutrients, get signals from other cells to perform an action (such as firing of a neuron) and many other cellular activities can be affected. In addition to the cell walls, other biological molecules are also susceptible to damage, including RNA, DNA and protein enzymes.
The primary site of free radical damage is the DNA found in the mitochondria, which are the "energy factory" of the cell. Every cell contains an enormous set of molecules called DNA which provide chemical instructions for a cell to function and serves as the "command center" of the cell, as well as in the mitochondria. Normally the cell automatically fixes much of the damage done to nuclear DNA. However, the DNA in the mitochondria cannot be readily fixed.
Therefore, extensive DNA damage accumulates over time and shuts down mitochondria, this free radical generation process can disrupt all levels of cell function. causing the cells to die and the organism to age (Cancer Prevention Study Group, 1994). This is why free radical damage is thought to be such a basic mechanism of tissue injury. It damages us at the cellular level.
Causes of free radicals: People are commonly faced with environmental pollutants whether through habits like smoking, or daily interactions with smog, air pollutants (toxic chemicals in the environment), stress, a lack of nutrients in our food and life in general. These pollutants cause free radicals to build up in the body. Free radicals collect in the body as a reaction to these pollutants and begin to quickly destroy the cell walls and the genetic structure of the cell. It is also clear that environmental agents initiate free radical problems. The toxicity of lead, pesticides, cadmium, ionizing radiation, alcohol and cigarette smoke may all be due to their free radical initiating ability.
Antioxidants: Chemically, antioxidants are molecules which are capable of slowing or preventing the oxidation of other molecules in our body. There are many antioxidants in plants and animals which are responsible for carrying out the body functions efficiently. Some of these are Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Glutathionine and enzymes like Catalase, Peroxides and Superoxide dismutase.
Antioxidants are often described as “mopping up” free radicals, meaning they neutralize the electrical charge and prevent the free radical from taking electrons from other molecules.
role of antioxidant: Antioxidants are capable of stabilizing, or deactivating, free radicals before they attack cells and provide a better vision towards health, that can activate the body and regenerates energy in it so that all the toxins of the body can get diluted and fresh oxygen can recharge the body. Thus, these scavenger substances are capable to reduce its effect and protect the body from heavy damage. Hence they are absolutely critical for maintaining optimal cellular and systemic health and well-being.
Types of antioxidant: Antioxidant are classified into two broad division depending on whether they are soluble in water hydrophillic. In general water soluble antioxidant reacts with oxidant in the cell cytosol and the blood plasma, while lipid soluble antioxidant protect cell membrane from lipid peroxidation these compound may be synthesized in the body or obtained from the diet. The different antioxidant are present at a wide range of concentration in body fluids and tissues with some such as gluthione or ubiquinone mostly present within cells while others such as uric acid are more evenly distributed some antioxidant are only found in a few organism and these compound can we important in pathogens can be important in pathogens and can be virulence factors.
Beta carotene and other carotenoids are also believed to provide antioxidant projection to lipid rich tissues. Research suggests beta carotene may work synergistically with vitamin E, fruits and vegetables are major sources of vitamin C and carotenoids. While whole grains and high quality properly extracted and protected vegetable also are major sources of vitamin E (Sies H and Jacob R.A et al., 1995).
Phytonutrients: A number of other dietary antioxidant substances exist beyond the traditional vitamins discussed above. Many plant-derived substances, collectively termed “phytonutrients,” or “phytochemicals,” are becoming increasingly known for their antioxidant activity. Phenolic compounds such as flavonoids are ubiquitous within the plant kingdom: approximately 3,000 flavonoid substances have been described (Briviba, k. and Sies,1994). In plants, flavonoids serve as protectors against a wide variety of environmental stresses while, in humans, flavonoids appear to function as “biological response modifiers.” Flavonoids have been demonstrated to have anti-inflammatory, antiallergenic, anti-viral, anti-aging, and anti-carcinogenic activity (Cody,V.Middleton, E.and Harborne; Middleton, E. 1984).
The broad therapeutic effects of flavonoids can be largely attributed to their antioxidant properties. In addition to an antioxidant effect,flavonoid compounds may exert protection against heart disease throughthe inhibition of cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase activities in plateletsand macrophages (Havesteen, P., 1983).The best way to ensure an adequate intake of phytonutrients is toeat a diet rich in a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.Phytonutrient supplements are also now widely available (Middleton E 1986).
Glutalhione directly qunches ROS such as lipid peroxides and also plays a major role in xenobiotic metabolism. Research suggests that gutathione and vitamin C work interactively to quench free radicals and that they have a sparing effect upon each other. Lipoic acid, yet another important endogenous antioxidant, categories as a thiol or biothiol lipoic acid and its reduced form dihydrolipoic acid DHLA are capable of quenching free radicals in both lipid and aqueous domains and as such has been called a universal antioxidant liopic acid may also exert its antioxidant effect by chelating with pro oxidant metals. Research further suggests that lipoic acid has a sparing effect on other antioxidants. Animal studies have demonstrated supplemental lipoic acid to protect against the symptoms of vitamin E supplemental lipoic acid to protect against the symptoms of vitamin E and vitamin C deficiency. (Duthie. G.G et al., Packer L et.al kagen V.E et al., 1994).
In animal studies that investigate diseases facilitated by oxidative stress introduction of uric acid both prevents the disease or reduces it leading researches to propose this is due to uric acids antioxidant properties studies of uric acids antioxidant mechanism support this proposal.
Antioxidant diet: Diet and lifestyle of a person play a key role in his overall health and personality. Maintaining a balanced diet consisting of all the essential nutrients is very important for the normal growth and development of the body. However, the fast and busy lifestyles these days are responsible for many health disorders. Specific diet plans are then prescribed to overcome these health hazards and bring back the normal health. Diet helps to reduce or manage certain conditions like diabetes, gout, hypertension, etc. One such diet plan is the antioxidant diet plan. Let us learn in detail about the antioxidant diet.
Diet Plan: Consuming an antioxidant rich diet on a regular basis can reduce the risks of heart diseases as well as cancer. The key is to combine the above antioxidant sources in a creative way to form a daily diet plan. The plan should consist of variations so that you will be able to follow it for long. Here is a sample antioxidant diet plan. Have a look at it:
Breakfast: Begin your morning with a cereal. Include fresh juicy berries in your cereal which will serve as a tasty delight. You could do with oatmeal and raisins, and a glass of fresh fruit juice or yogurt mixed with fresh blueberries.
Lunch: Red beans or kidney beans are a healthy addition to your tacos, pastas and salads. Include chopped mixed vegetables along with a fruit to complete the meal. If you are a non-vegetarian, you could go for a chicken salad sandwich along with the mixed veggies.
Afternoon Break: Green tea is the perfect afternoon break. It has numerous health benefits and will also freshen you up for the rest of your day.
Dinner: Chicken or beef stir fry along with bell peppers, asparagus and mushrooms. Add spinach to your sandwiches instead of lettuce and do not forget the fruit. You could mix your fruits and yogurt for a sweet and sound good night's sleep.
A good healthy diet rich in vegetables and fruits should be on everybody's to do list if you want to live an optimal healthy lifestyle. It's important to value your health now when you still have it. A lot of people only realized how important their health is when it's gone. Supplementation with daily vitamins is your personal life insurance which will help prevent diseases in the future.
The body is constantly barraged with pollutants that cause free radical invasion and increase the risk of cancers and other genetic mutations in our DNA's genetic code, thus a constant level of antioxidants which need to be part of our daily life in order to reap the antioxidant benefits. It's always advised to ingest preferably appropriate amounts of antioxidants on a regular basis to protected ourselves against strokes, heart attacks, arthritis, vision problems, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's diseases, Diabetes and Obesity. Eating the rights foods is the best way to boost our natural levels of antioxidants antiaging benefits. The healthier the cells of the body are, the more youthful the skin will look, and the more quickly the body will repair itself from damage and the younger we will feel every day.