Introduction to Anti-oxidants
Oxygen is crucial for life but when our body uses oxygen, then a reactive oxygen specie known as free radicals is generated as a by-product. These free radicals can damage the healthy cells.
Therefore, our body produces anti-oxidants to combat these free radicals. Anti-oxidants are very important for health because they neutralize the free radicals and thus prevent several illnesses and chronic disorders.
External sources of free radicals:
Free radicals are also generated due to exposure to cigarette smoke, alcohol consumption, during an inflammatory response, excess exposure to the sun and from exposure to large amounts of heavy metals.
What Are the Common Sources of Anti-oxidants?
Below are some of the potent anti-oxidants found in a variety of fruits and vegetables:
- Vitamin C: oranges, potatoes, broccoli, kiwi fruit, sweet peppers, strawberries
- Vitamin E: seeds, peanut butter, avocado, wheat germ, nuts
- Beta-carotene: carrots, broccoli, pumpkin, apricots, mangoes, spinach
- Anthocyanin: eggplant, berries
- Lycopene: tomatoes, watermelon
- Lutein: broccoli, spinach, corn
How Do the Anti-oxidants in Our Body Fight Free Radicals?
Oxidative stress develops due to the generation of free radicals beyond the protective defenses in the body. Damage to the cells due to oxidative stress may begin at the early stages of cancer and heart disease. The free radicals are also believed to be responsible for the development of Alzheimer’s disease, kidney disorders, arthritis, cataracts, diabetes and age-related blindness.
In response, the human body forms anti-oxidants to fight these free radicals and protect the cells. Anti-oxidants act by interacting with free radicals and stopping the chain of damaging reactions.
Do We Really Need to Take Anti-oxidant Supplements to Complete Their Requirement in Our Body?
Our body produces free radicals and the anti-oxidants naturally. However, in most cases, free radicals produced are in much higher number and they cannot be neutralized by the naturally produced anti-oxidants. Therefore, to sustain the balance, continuous supply of antioxidants from external sources is needed.
Role of Squalene as a Superior Anti-oxidant
Squalene is an excellent anti-oxidant due to its molecular structure. It possesses a great capacity to receive or donate electrons without suffering molecular disruption. Squalene’s powerful free radical-quenching ability has been shown to be equal to that of BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), one of the most powerful antioxidants known to science. This unique stability is the key to Squalene′s ability to terminate the on-going or chain damage inside our bodies (lipid peroxidation chain reaction). According to laboratory research, this happens specifically in the skin’s surface.