Antioxidants – We address some of the myths

In our search for ways to reclaim youth, the sales of antioxidant packed fruit and vegetables have increased dramatically in hope that consuming these powerhouse foods may have anti-aging effects.

And rightly so, antioxidants are one of the first lines of defense that the body employs to keep free radicals in check and prevent them from causing a domino effect of damage on other cells, they also help repair cell damage caused by free radicals. Our bodies are battlegrounds against infection and diseases. Normal body function such as breathing and other dietary and lifestyle choices produce substances called free radicals that attack healthy cells.

When these healthy cells are weakened, we become more susceptible to cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancers. Natural antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E and carotenoids, which include astaxanthin, lycopene and lutein, help protect healthy cells from damage caused by free radicals.

Although the true role of a diet rich in antioxidants is much more than skin deep it is important to sort out the genuine myths from the marketing hype.

  • Antioxidants can cure any ailment. Disease-causing free radicals start trouble by traveling through the body as damaged molecules, hungrily searching for electrons, which they steal from other molecules, causing chemical reactions resulting in oxidation. Antioxidants work by sharing electrons with free radicals, restoring stability to those damaged cells, without becoming unbalanced themselves.
    Bottom line: Antioxidants can provide a defense against future ailments by limiting cell damage, and mopping up free radicals but they are not a cure-all treatment.
  • All antioxidants are equal? There are many different types of antioxidants, and each plays a different role in helping to maintain good health. Some supplements offer such small levels of antioxidants that they are little better than a placebo.
    Bottom line: Eat a wide range of healthy food and supplement with balanced a comprehensive formula from a trusted source.
  • More is always better.First and foremost you can probably never eat too many fresh fruits and veggies, supplementing antioxidants at very high levels could lead to toxicity.
    Bottom line: Establish good nutritional health by following an all-natural diet that is loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables. However with the busy lifestyle we live, many people blend the use of supplements into their diet, if you do, make sure you’re taking one that doesn’t include excessive levels of any single component. Instead opt for formulas that contain a comprehensive balanced range of ingredients such as our Xtend-Life Total Balance line.
  • Antioxidant levels determine health.You can take an antioxidant supplement, but that won’t erase the damage you’ll do by making unhealthy lifestyle choices. Smoking cigarettes, eating a high-fat diet and living a sedentary lifestyle will wreak havoc on your health no matter what you do.
    Bottom line: A healthy diet and supplement regimen should be followed up with an active healthy lifestyle for best results.
  • Antioxidants can shorten my lifespan. A study that appeared recently in the Cochrane Review found that those who took antioxidant supplements were more likely to die earlier than those who did not supplement. Later studies rebuked those results.
    Bottom line: Most experts suggest a happy medium, meaning you shouldn’t expect to erase all ailments with antioxidants, but antioxidants are important and helpful.
  • Antioxidants don’t have a major impact.The body has its own ability to generate antioxidants, however, due to the busy lifestyles we lead, we usually don’t generate enough to fight off all the free radicals that come our way.
    Bottom line: If you skip the fruits and vegetables and don’t eat a balanced diet (we don’t recommend that you do this), you’ll need the boost that a supplement can provide. For best results, combine the two in your daily regimen.
  • Antioxidants lose effectiveness.While some antioxidants respond like Superman to kryptonite after restoring a free radical, others are still working hard, even after they become oxidized by giving away electrons.
    Bottom line: Take in a mix of antioxidants (eat a rainbow of food colors) to reap the best benefits possible.
  • All antioxidants come from fruits and veggies.While fruits and veggies are packed with antioxidants, other plants – as well as meat, fish and dairy, also pack a healthy punch of the free radical fighters.
    Bottom line: Keeping to a mix of protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains can further help ensure a healthy mix of antioxidants, to fight off free radicals.
  • Antioxidant supplements don’t work. Certainly, there are plenty of antioxidant supplements on the market that are taking advantage of the hype and don’t contain many elements that promote better health, but that’s not the whole story.
    Bottom line: Firstly at Xtend-Life, we take our own products to help support better health and wellness for ourselves, With this in mind, you can rest assured that supplements like our Total Balance can help replenish any nutrient deficiencies.

Essentially, while a healthy lifestyle will have the most impact on our good health, eating all the food colors of the rainbow every day is tricky for most of us. Supplements such as Total Balance, as well as our Kiwi-Klenz and Omega 3 Fish Oil are a convenient and excellent way to help support your overall health. We believe that life is a journey and we wish to see people having a long, happy and healthy one!

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  1. Harverd School of Public Health: Antioxidants: Beyond the Hype