Who needs more antioxidants?
Antioxidants are all the rage, consuming enough is found to confer a wide range of health benefits, right from boosting immune health to preventing diseases. There is a universal consensus among health researchers that we need to get optimal antioxidants every day for maintaining health. While this being a fact, some people may need more antioxidants than others.
Conditions that demand more antioxidants
Depending on the type of activity, body condition, stress level, and other factors, the need for antioxidants may be more for some individuals. A look at the factors that generate free radicals can give you an overview of who may need more antioxidants to neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals.
Here are the factors that cause a surge of free radicals, and increase your demand for antioxidants.
Athletes: Endurance athletes and people involved in excessive physical activity have more need for antioxidants. This is because they have an increased exposure to oxygen because of their physical activity (stress) which translates into increased levels of free radical generation. It is well established that contracting skeletal muscles produce radicals and the rate of radical production in muscles rises as the exercise intensity is increased (1). Furthermore, athletes and those involved in sports may experience injuries and muscle tears which call for more antioxidants for recovery. So, if you are involved in plenty of physical activity aim to improve your antioxidant-rich foods like artichokes, berries, cherries, green tea, etc. Do keep in mind, mild to moderate exercise helps to boost your body’s self antioxidant producing capacity. If you are someone involved in heavy exercise you may look to add an antioxidant supplement to your daily regiment.
If you are chronically stressed: Stress can aggravate inflammation and lower the body’s immune defense, a consequence of free radical generation. Studies have found strong links between chronic stress, both emotional and psychological, and numerous health issues. Researchers and health care providers suggest that 85 percent of all diseases may have an underlying condition such as stress (emotional element).
Smoking & alcohol abuse: Smoking – both active and passive is well known to generate free radicals in your body. This not only accelerates the aging process, it also destroys the delicate inner lining of the respiratory tract leading to severe conditions including lung cancer (2). Alcohol abuse is also found to interfere with the body’s metabolic process and may lead to inflammatory conditions causing free radical generation.
If you are a poor sleeper: Sleep deficit is by far the most common, but least reported medical problems by most patients. Researchers have identified a lack of good quality sleep can impact us at various levels in terms of productivity and well-being. Recent research also reveals that sleep deprivation leads to free radical generation as well, which can accentuate poor health conditions many fold. Melatonin, another antioxidant is produced by the body only during the period of darkness (3,4). Getting enough sleep ensures production of this antioxidant. However, if you are a light sleeper or do not get quality sleep, you may need extra antioxidants to balance the deficit.
If you live in pollution-prone areas: Studies show that air pollution is strongly associated with deaths from heart diseases and lung problems. Free radical generation and oxidative stress are identified as the primary mechanisms involved in pollution-induced health effects. Particulate matter, ultra fine pollutants, ozone, nitrogen oxides, and transition metals are potent oxidants which generate free radicals (5).
If you or someone that you know is likely to be among the aforementioned factors, it is a good choice to start consuming more antioxidant-rich foods and good quality supplements. The most efficient way to avoid free-radical exposure would be to avoid, as much as possible, exposure to external sources of free radicals such as pollution, cigarette smoke, excessive alcohol consumption, and UV rays from sunlight. However, this may not always be possible, which is why protection via adequate dietary consumption of antioxidants helps. Choose to eat from a variety of antioxidant-rich foods as well as consume powerful antioxidant supplements such as flavonoids, polyphenolic compounds which can help in some gaps in your dietary antioxidant intake.
To ensure you’re consuming enough OPCs in your daily diet, take a look at OPCXtra. OPCXtra is our super antioxidant drink mix in an isotonic formula made from a combination of six major sources of bioflavonoids. Four of the sources – Grape Seed Extract, Red Wine Extract, Pine Bark Extract, and Green Tea Extract – supply a group of powerful antioxidant bioflavonoids called Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins (OPC). Follow this link to learn more about OPCXtra!