Antioxidants: Too Much Of A Good Thing?

Antioxidants have been shown to have a number of beneficial effects. In general antioxidants appear to be protective of major lifestyle diseases including cardiovascular disease and cancer. Since evidence shows that antioxidants are beneficial to health, it could be assumed that taking large amounts of antioxidants would be more beneficial compared to taking smaller quantities of them. However, more is not always better with antioxidants. Generally antioxidants are beneficial, however in high concentrations certain antioxidants may act as pro-oxidants. This means that instead of protecting tissues from free radicals, they may actually generate the production of free radicals and thus cause tissue damage. It is thought for example that vitamin E may act in this way if taken in very high concentrations. One solution to this problem is to take smaller amounts of many different antioxidants. This is how antioxidants are present in food naturally, and taking them in this way prevents them becoming pro-oxidants. 

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About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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