Not all antioxidants can scavenge free radicals located at diferent parts of the body. Free radicals that are formed in the fat or lipid sections of the body are handled by the fat soluble antioxidants. Those that are formed in the watery or aqueous sections of the body are handled by the water soluble antioxidants.
Groups of antioxidants in terms of solubility
Water soluble antioxidants
These are the antioxidants which can be found or can penetrate in the cytoplasm of a cell (intracellular) as well as outside the cell (extracellular). The body cannot store water soluble antioxidants, unspent or excess of these are simply excreted from the body through the urine so a person cannot theoretically be overdosed Some examples of water soluble antioxidants are:
- Vitamin C - A powerful antioxidant capability and immune system booster are only two of several benefits that the body can gain from this vitamin. It is unfortunate however that our body cannot manufacture its own vitamin C, unlike some animals like the rat. It must be ingested from food or through supplements. Studies have shown that aside from being a potent antioxidant, it also aids in the regeneration of oxidized glutathione (our body's internal antioxidant).
- Glutathione - Our body's natural and potent antioxidant.
- Catechins - Abundant in green tea.
- Punicalagins - It can be found in pomegranate.
- Xanthones - The major antioxidant component in mangosteen
- Anthocyanins - The substance which gives color to fruits and vegetables. Acai berry has plenty of it.
Fat soluble antioxidants
As the name suggests, it blends with the fat or lipid portions of the body. Excess or unspent amounts of these antioxidants are stored in the body's fat. High amounts stored in the body can become toxic. Some examples of fat soluble antioxidants are:
- Vitamin E - A very effective antioxidant to scavenge free radicals in the fatty portions of the body. Protection against cancer: lungs, colon, breast, mouth are some of its strong properties. It can also remove toxins from the body like lead and mercury. Just like glutathione, vitamin C can help regenerate oxidized vitamine E. High concentrations of vitamin E can be found in soybeans, corn, cottonseed oil and wheat germ. Recommended amount is from 400 to 800 IU and lesser for persons with high blood pressure.
- Vitamin A - Although less effective than vitamin E, it still is an important antioxidant. It also responsible for aiding our body in producing epithelial tissues which can be found mostly in the respiratory system and some in other parts of the body. Epithelial tissues are important to make our cells cancer resistant. Toxic levels for vitamin A is 10,000 IU. Cod liver oil, beef liver, chicken liver and sharks have high concentrations of vitamin A. Other sources of vitamin A are the carotenoids:
- Lycopene - Abundant in tomatoes and watermelon.
- Lutein and Zeaxanthin
- Beta carotene
What antioxidant group should you take?
Both water and fat soluble antioxidants should be taken together to protect yourself from free radicals generated from fat or aquaeous portions of the body. When taken together - vitamin A, C, and E - their potency becomes higher and more effective.
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