Antioxidant Supplements

Even for scientists it's a continuing mystery why people who eat plenty of fruit and vegetables are less likely to develop diseases like cancer and heart disease. Of course, fresh fruits are usually low in fat and high in sugar, but there's much more to it.

Recent studies have shown that antioxidants offer part of the value of consuming fresh produce every day. These are substances which protect our body from the ravages caused by free radicals. Beta-carotene, or more generally known as Vitamin A, is the first ever antioxidants to attract the interest of scientists and the vitamin supplement industry. Today, antioxidant supplements can be found in almost any pharmacy or health food store in the form of Vitamin A capsules.

Antioxidant beta-carotene supplements are usually made from orange, yellow, and green leafy vegetables and berries. It has been found that people who eat lots of beta-carotene-rich foods are usually not susceptible to cancer. The beta-carotene antioxidant supplements in the industry did not last too long though. It seemed that beta-carotene was not doing a good job at it in most big trials designed to see whether taking extra beta-carotene antioxidant supplements could ward off cancer. Worse, in two major trials, beta-carotene antioxidant supplements and tablets tended to boost the cancer rates for cigarettes.

And so, research started to look at other antioxidant sources as potential alternatives to antioxidants. The next candidates were vitamins C and E yet again tests showed mixed results. While antioxidant supplements with vitamin C did not look as if it could reduce the risk of cancer or heart disease, they did not have any adverse effects either. Indeed, vitamin C may also provide some defense against cataract-related loss of sight in older people.

Vitamin E is the most promising of all antioxidant supplements so far, especially when it comes to working against heart disease. Those who eat more vitamin E rich foods appear to have lower risk of heart disease.

Antioxidant supplements have been available for years now and while they can not replace a balanced diet and lifestyle, they do play a role in improving your overall health and resilience. It is safe to take supplements with antioxidants as combination products. When taken together, multiple antioxidants tend to function synergistically and much more efficiently than when taken as one single antioxidant.

Most of the antioxidant supplements that you find in health stores today have a regular base of ingredients. In general, antioxidant supplements include vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and the mineral selenium. Many combinations may contain many antioxidants but those already listed are common antioxidant supplements.

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