Posted on: 05.09.2022 Posted by: Drlark Comments: 0

October 11, 2003



and Vitamins

Every time we eat, breathe or move, our body uses fuel from food

to produce energy. But just as a car using gas to produce energy

releases harmful byproducts of this process as exhaust, so, too,

does our own body’s energy-producing efforts produce a dangerous

byproduct, called free radicals. Free radicals are highly

reactive forms of oxygen that are missing an electron. When they

come into contact with normal cells, they try to steal an electron,

damaging the healthy cell and its DNA. It’s estimated every cell

in our body takes 10,000 oxidative hits to its DNA daily!

Free radical damage has long been believed to be a risk factor of

many of the degenerative processes that accompany aging, including

heart disease, memory loss, wrinkles, and cancer.

Antioxidants, however, are the catalytic converter of free radicals.

They clean up as many free radicals as they can. If damage has already

occurred, they may give the free radical an electron to stabilize

it. Or combine with it to form a different, more stable compound.

There are also antioxidant enzymes that help the free radical react

with other chemicals to produce safe, instead of toxic, substances.

If you don’t have enough antioxidants, your body will experience

oxidative stress, resulting in significant cell damage.

Ideally, we would get much of our antioxidant protection from fruits

and vegetables. But most Americans don’t even eat the recommended

5 servings per day. Also, there are many potent antioxidants that

don’t come from food. To to optimize our antioxidants, you must

go beyond food.

Click on the links below to learn more about these antioxidant vitamins.

Antioxidant Vitamins

Vitamin A

Vitamin C and bioflavonoids

Vitamin E

Vitamin A (retinal or beta-carotene)

Beta-carotene is the precursor and preferred source of vitamin A

This fat-soluble vitamin is stored in our body and is essential

for the proper formation and maintenance of cell membranes. It helps

boost your immune system, protecting against invaders that may cause

disease and fatigue. It’s also needed for the normal production

of red blood cells, helping prevent fatigue caused by anemia or

heavy menstrual bleeding. It helps improve the health of your skin,

suppressing premenstrual acne and oily skin. However, vitamin A

also should be taken for healthy skin, mucous membranes, and to

support your immune system.

Helps with: Bone

health, fatigue, reproductive

function, vision, PMS, heavy menstrual

bleeding. Beta-carotene may also help protect against breast cancer.

Recommended daily intake: 5,000 to 25,000

IU of beta-carotene per day. If you take vitamin A, then you should

take 5,000 to 10,000 IU per day.

For heavy menstrual bleeding: 5,000 to 50,000

IU of beta-carotene; 5000 to 10,000 IU of vitamin A.

Best form: A combination of beta-carotene

and vitamin A. Do not exceed the recommended vitamin A dosage since

it can adversely affect liver function.

Good food sources: orange-colored vegetables

(sweet potatoes, papaya, carrots) and dark green, leafy vegetables.

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

with bioflavonoids

We can’t produce vitamin C or bioflavonoids on our own, so we depend

entirely on food sources and nutrients.

Bioflavonoids, while not true vitamins in the strictest sense, are

still sometimes referred to as vitamin P. Together with vitamin

C, they work to form collagen, one of the body’s main structural

proteins. Collagen is also an important component in bone. Bioflavonoids

also have mildly estrogenic activities, and so are helpful with

menopausal symptoms. Lemon bioflavonoids and rutin are commonly

combined with vitamin C.

As an antioxidant, vitamin C helps prevent LDL cholesterol oxidation,

the process that can result in clogged arteries, heart attacks and

strokes. It also lowers blood pressure, increases HDL cholesterol

(the “good,” protective type of cholesterol) and helps

maintain levels of vitamin E. It also has an antihistamine effect,

which can help women whose allergies get worse just before their

periods. And, by bolstering the immune system, it helps prevent

fatigue caused by infections. Vitamin C also helps you absorb iron

— critical in preventing fatigue.

Helpful for: Immune system, heart

health, fatigue, heavy menstrual

bleeding, reducing stress, PMS , bone

health, anemia, inflammation, allergies, hot

flashes, vaginal dryness. Vitamin C and bioflavonoids may also

help prevent breast cancer.

Recommended daily intake:

  • Vitamin C: 1 to 2 g a day. But during periods

    of high stress, you may need as much as 8 to 10 g. If you experience

    gas and diarrhea, cut back on the dosage. It’s also best to split

    your dose throughout the day, as your body will get rid of what

    it doesn’t immediately need.

  • Bioflavonoids: 750 to 2000 mg per day.
  • For heavy menstrual bleeding: 1,000 to 5,000

    mg of vitamin C (as buffered vitamin C); 700 to 2,400 mg of bioflavonoids

  • For anemia: 250-1000 mg of vitamin C

    Best food sources: Most fruits and

    vegetables, and sprouted grains, seeds and beans.

    Good to know:

  • Stress can deplete vitamin

    C. Even an unexpected confrontational phone call can quickly use

    up your supply.

  • If you’re taking large doses

    of Vitamin C buffered with calcium, make sure you increase your

    magnesium intake to balance out with your calcium in a 2:1 or 10:4

    ratio of calcium to magnesium.

    Vitamin E

    There are several types of vitamin E, including alpha and gamma

    tocopherol, and tocotrienols. It’s a powerful antioxidant, working

    to prevent cell damage throughout the body. Vitamin E also strengthens

    the immune system and its response to attack, and has antihistamine

    properties that can help women suffering from allergies. Gamma

    tocopherol may also play a major role in maintaining blood pressure

    and preventing congestive heart failure by regulating the passage

    of fluid through the kidneys and preventing blood clots from forming.

    If your diet is high in saturated fats, then blood cells can become

    sticky and clump together. Vitamin E prevents this from happening.

    There are also intriguing studies suggesting it may be effective

    as an estrogen replacement.

    Helps with: Heart

    health, immune system, stress, fatigue,

    heavy menstrual bleeding and anemia, PMS

    and menopausal symptoms, and

    preventing some cancers, including breast, prostate, lung and

    colon. May also play a role in protecting against memory problems,

    as with Alzheimer’s disease.

    Recommended daily intake: 400 to 1,000


    For menopausal-related anxiety and mood swings: Up to 2,000 I.U.

    For heavy menstrual bleeding: 400-1,600 I.U.

    Best type to use: Natural. Your body absorbs

    and uses it better.

    Best food sources: whole grains, eggs,

    and nuts. But only very small amounts are present in most foods.

    Good to know: Open an oil-based vitamin

    E capsule and apply the oil directly to your vaginal tissues to

    treat the irritation that can occur when the vaginal tissue thins

    during menopause.

    Caution: Women with certain medical problems,

    such as high blood pressure, insulin-dependent diabetes and menstrual-bleeding

    problems, should begin taking vitamin E at lower doses, starting

    with 100 IU per day and slowly increasing the dose. Also, they

    should check with their health professional before supplementing

    Other Antioxidants

    In addition to vitamin A (beta-carotene),

    vitamin C, and vitamin E,

    and the mineral selenium,

    other antioxidants you should supplement with include:

    Alpha Lipoic Acid



    Alpha Lipoic Acid

    Alpha Lipoic Acid is a powerful antioxidant that possesses anti-inflammatory

    properties and — at doses of 600 mg per day — mitigates

    the pain of diabetic neuropathies.

    Helps with: Maintaining healthy blood

    sugar levels and promotes healthy liver detoxification.

    Recommended daily intake: 30 mg

    Good food sources: spinach, broccoli,

    beef, yeast, organ meats.


    Lycopene, a plant-based nutrient called a carotenoid, blocks

    a form of the hormone that stimulates cell growth in breast, cervical,

    and other cancers.

    Critical for: Immune system. Also may

    inhibit the growth of breast, lung and endometrial cancer cells,

    as well as prevent their formation in the first place.

    Recommended daily intake: 30 to 100 mcg

    Good food sources: Tomatoes, tomato sauce

    (in pizza or pasta dishes), watermelon, and guava. Tomato juice

    is not a good source of lycopene.


    Another member of the carotenoid family, lutein protects against

    macular degeneration.

    Helps with: Vision

    Recommended daily intake: 6 to 12 mg (take

    with food to improve absorption)

    Good food sources: Dark green leafy vegetables

    To learn more about other supplements,

    read on:

    Essential Fatty Acids

    Other Vitamins to Supplement




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