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If you have been listening to health, wellness and longevity podcasts, you’ve heard about the benefits of antioxidants. Walk into any natural health store or click on any website selling supplements, and you’re bound to see products labeled with claims like “cellular protection antioxidants,” or “antioxidant-rich for optimal health.” Antioxidants are popularly lauded for anti-aging effects, cancer-fighting abilities, and all kinds of health benefits, but what are they, really? We’re going to dive into the research about what antioxidants are – and are not – and how to harness their natural power to support your health.

Antioxidants are compounds that quench highly reactive molecules known as free radicals. Free radicals can damage DNA and interfere with cellular function by stealing electrons in a process called ‘oxidation.’ Free radicals, and the wider category of reactive species, are normal byproducts of energy production and other cellular processes. Oxidative stress is also driven up by toxic exposures, radiation, infections, and imbalances in energy production such as insulin resistance and liver diseases.

Dementia, cancer, liver diseases, diabetes, hypertension, infertility, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, HIV, and Parkinson’s disease, just to name a few, have all been associated with depleted glutathione, a powerful antioxidant.

Based on this, it may seem that all oxidative stress is bad, however, oxidation is a normal process necessary for cellular function. Based on the degree of stress, circumstances under which it is generated, and the body’s response to it, oxidative stress may be harmful or beneficial for health.

To learn more about the nuanced balance of antioxidants and oxidative stress and our current understanding of their effects on our cellular signaling pathways, you may access the full article HERE.

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