The body’s cells face formidable threats, from lack of food to infection with a virus. Another constant threat comes from chemicals called free radicals. In very high levels, they are capable of damaging cells, genetic material, and cause a condition called oxidative stress, which may lead to chronic diseases. Our bodies, however, are not defenseless against these damaging free radicals. Defensive molecules produced by our bodies are known as “antioxidants” which become involved in mechanisms that repair DNA and maintain the health of cells. Because antioxidants have the power to neutralize free radicals, they can lower your odds of some diseases.
The most familiar antioxidants are vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and other related carotenoids, along with the mineral’s selenium and manganese. They’re joined by glutathione, coenzyme Q10, lipoic acid, flavonoids, phenols, polyphenols, phytoestrogens, and many more.