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Antioxidants neutralize oxidants to prevent damage to our body

Antioxidants “sacrifice” themselves to preserve our body parts from damage by oxidants

To better understand the function of antioxidants in the body:

Antioxidants for “Oxidant Damage Control”

Antioxidants include:

  • The vitamins: Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K
  • Phytonutrients:
    • Carotenoids.   E.g. beta-carotene (in carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes), lycopene (in tomatoes)
    • Polyphenols.   E.g. resveratrol (in grapes, red wine), anthocyanins (in berries) curcumin (in turmeric), epicatechins (in dark chocolate, green tea)
  • Other antioxidants.   E.g. CoQ-10;  alpha-lipoic acid;

Antioxidants are water-soluble and/or fat soluble:

  • Fat soluble.   Protect cellular plasma and nucleic membranes (housing DNA) from lipid peroxidation. (Canfield et al, 1985). Fat soluble vitamins can be stored in the body (except K storage is minimal). Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin KCoQ-10, alpha-lipoic acid;
  • Water Soluble –  Provide oxidant damage control in the blood and cell plasma. Water soluble vitamins can NOT be stored in the body. Include: Vitamin B, Vitamin C,  alpha-lipoic acid.

How do we obtain antioxidants?

  • From food and/or supplements
  • Produced “In-House” by the body.   E.g. Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), Catalase (CAT), Glutathione Peroxidase (GPx), Glutathione (GSH), CoQ10 (production decreases with age)

All Antioxidants need optimal amounts of certain dietary, MINERALS to function properly

The Antioxidant “Team”
Antioxidant Water or fat soluble? Example foods
Vitamin A (Beta-carotene) Fat Liver, some cod liver oil, “grass-fed” butter, cream, cheese, whole milk Highly colored fruits/veg. esp. carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe

B Vitamins:

B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin)

B3 (niacin) B5 (pantothenic acid)

B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin)

B9 (Folate)

B12 (cobalamin)

Water  Meat, eggs, dairy; also spinach, legumes, whole grains, asparagus, potatoes, bananas, chili peppers
Vitamin C Water Pomegranate, blackcurrants, kiwi, mango, lemon, orange, cantaloupe, red pepper, red cabbage

Vitamin D

Fat Sunshine; High vitamin cod liver oil; Oily fish; Butter, eggs, milk from outdoor livestock
Vitamin E Fat Nuts, wheat germ, palm oil
Vitamin K Fat Kale, spinach, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, natto, sauerkraut, aged cheeses
Lipoic Acid Fat/Water Kidney, heart, liver, spinach, broccoli, and yeast extract
CoQ10 Fat Beef, herring, chicken, trout
Polyphenols Water Red wine (2 glasses/day), cocoa / dark chocolate
Carotenoids Mostly water  Carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe

Supporting trace minerals / vitamins for body’s “in house”- produced antioxidants:

Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), Catalase (CAT), Glutathione Peroxidase (GPx), Glutathione (GSH)

  Supported AOX Food(s) containing Mineral
Selenium GPx, GSH Brazil nuts
Zinc SOD Pumpkin seeds
Manganese SOD Whole grains, nuts, chickpeas
Copper SOD Whole grains, beans, nuts, potatoes
Iron CAT  
B6, B12Folate GSH Required for methylation and transulfuration pathways – See SAMe


Canfield LM et al (1985) Anti-oxidant/pro-oxidant reactions of vitamin K.

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