Attack of the Free Radicals, or How Vitamin E Stopped the Revolution!

vt-13.jpgYour best defense against free radicals is with vitamins strong in antioxidant properties, especially vitamin E.

Free radicals are not a lingering political faction from the Sixties, and they are not a national security issue, but they are an issue for national health and wellness — and your best defense is an offense — with vitamins, particularly vitamin E.

As your body performs the biochemical magic needed to keep you healthy and functioning, it is constantly combining and recombining various elements and compounds to manufacture the nutrition needed to feed the complexity of functions it performs, from breathing to elimination, and everything in between.

This process of recombining the atomic building blocks is usually pretty neat, but sometimes there are leftover electrons called ‘free radicals.’ A healthy body living in a healthful environment can deal with free radicals, but if your nutrition is poor, or if you’re surrounded by toxic elements — pollution, pesticides or herbicides and the like — the number of free radicals in your body can build up. They begin to ‘attack’ otherwise stable atoms, which then lose electrons that attack other atoms, and so on, until the cells and their component parts begin to break down. But your body has a natural defense mechanism against free-radical damage — antioxidants.

Free Radicals and Exercise

A study at Rice University suggests that while routine exercise enhances the body’s natural antioxidant defense system, people who exercise in the extreme but infrequently could be creating more free radical damage instead of avoiding it.

You can avoid this type of free radical damage with moderate exercise on a routine basis, or you can repair the damage from sporadic exercise, at least in part, with nutritional supplementation.

Routing Those Free Radicals

Vitamin E was first identified in 1922, but it wasn’t until decades later that its function in health and wellness identified it as a primary antioxidant. Working in combination with vitamin C and beta-carotene, E can safely interact with free radicals and stop the ‘chain reaction’ before cellular damage occurs.

Another nutrient that helps vitamin E reach its full potential in your body is selenium, a trace mineral. A zinc deficiency can also impair vitamin E’s functionality.

Free radical damage accumulates with age, and as you get older, it becomes more important to exercise routinely, eat well, and supplement your diet with the right nutrients. You can win the battle against free radicals by increasing your intake of vitamins and minerals that act as antioxidants — especially vitamin E.

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