Anitoxidants & Why We Need Them - A Brief Overivew

There is definitely no lack of information about antioxidants. Their name is quickly becoming a part of everyone's vocabulary. They definitely are great allies in our journey of creating and maintaining wellness and health. However, we must realize that their use is not a substitute for a healthy diet, physical activity, and nurture and care for our mental, emotional and spiritual bodies. Antioxidants are definitely an important and ciritical part of the puzzle, but not a replacement for any part of healthy lifestyle and not a 'magic pill' as many advertisers would like us to believe.

In order to understant the importance of antioxidants we must understand free radicals.
Free radicals perform many critical functions in our bodies, but also contribute to and cause disease. Free radicals constantly form throughout our bodies. If not quickly trapped, they can create many problems by oxidizing DNA and creating environment for cancer, targeting fat cells and creating environment for heart disease and premature aging. It is in our best interest to keep them controlled by maintaining the advantage of antioxidants so that they do their job and not cause disease.

So called network antioxidants are of great importance to our health. Back in the late 1990s Dr Packer designated five antioxidants that work together within what he named the Antioxidant Network. The antioxidants he considered to be part of this network are lipoic acid, CoQ10, glutathione, Vitamin E and Vitamin C.

Lipoic acid offers protection against cataracts, stroke and heart disease, prevents brain aging, turns off bad genes, and boosts the entire antioxidant network. What is remarkable about lipoic acid is that it can recycle all of the network antioxidants and it can regenerate itself (Packer, 1999, p. 32). Lipoic acid shows tremendous value in treatment of liver disease, and we can see significant success in its use for this purpose from cases reported by Burton Berkson, M.D., PhD who was able to save lives of numerous patients with liver disease like Amanita mushroom poisoning, hepatitis C, and severe liver infection. (Packer, 1999, p. 42) Lipoic acid also has tremendous benefits for controlling symptoms and preventing problems associated with diabetes. Dr. Dan Ziegler and Dr. F. Arnold Gries from Germany found that treatment with lipoic acid stimulated regeneration of nerve fibers in diabetics reducing pain and numbness associated with neuropathy within three weeks of patients’ taking 6oo mg of lipoic acid. (Packer, 1999, p. 47)

CoQ10 is a fat soluble antioxidant that has been used for many years to prevent and treat heart disease, but it also helps rejuvenate brain cells, and is being investigated as treatment for breast cancer. Within the network it regenerates vitamin E. Study by Dr. Folkers conducted in Denmark showed significant benefits of CoQ10 for those affected by cancer. (Packer, 1999, p. 101)

Glutathione is critical for body to detoxify from drugs and pollutants, maintain healthy liver function, and keep immune system running high. It is part of storage and transport of amino acids and is cell’s primary antioxidant. One of the best ways to boost levels of glutathione is to supplement with lipoic acid.

Vitamin E is well known as an anti-aging antioxidant. It provides help in protection from UV damage to the skin, helps relieve symptoms of arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, and has been shown to reduce the risk of prostate cancer and inhibit growth of breast cancer cells. (Packer, 1999, p. 54) Dr. Tappel proved back in 1954 that vitamin E could stop oxidation of lipids in the blood. Vitamin E was also found by the National Institute on Aging to be a powerful cancer fighter as well as protector from heart disease. (Packer, 1999, p. 58) To reap all the benefits vitamin E can offer it is important to supplement both mixed tocopherol and tocotrienol forms of this vitamin.

Vitamin C provides connection between fat-soluble and water-soluble antioxidants and it recycles vitamin E better than lipoic acid. It helps protect DNA from free radical damage, protects sperm from free radical damage, strengthens the immune system, protects against cataracts, suppresses viral genes, strengthens the connective tissue, and is essential for great skin.

Dr Packer also identified following important boosters for the antioxidant network: flavonoids, gingko biloba, pycogenol, carotenoids, and selenium. These important antioxidants significantly boost performance of the antioxidant network.

Flavonoids are compounds found in plants and are very powerful antioxidants. It is believed that because of their high intake of flavonoids French are able to eat foods laden with fat and still have low incidence of heart disease.

Gingko and pycogenol can, among other powerful benefits, regulate nitric oxide and help maintain its optimal levels important for many vital functions and for health of cardiovascular system specifically. Gingko has been used in China since 2800 B.C. for problems with brain function, heart, and circulation, but it was discovered that gingko can also quench superoxide and the hydroxyl radical, two powerful and potentially dangerous radicals. (Packer, 1999, p. 122) Pycogenol was shown to extend lifetime of vitamin C, boost production of vitamin E and gluthatione, and quench superoxide, nitric oxide, and the hydroxyl radical. (Packer, 1999, p. 126)

Selenium works in synergy with vitamin E, protects us from many different forms of cancer, benefits our heart functions, and is necessary for production of several enzymes. It is however important to note that high doses of selenium can be toxic. (Packer, 1999, p. 143)

Above is just a very brief and basic overview of things we shall know about antioxidants. If you take nothing else from this article, it is my hope that you will remember that antioxidants are an important part of our holistic healthy lifestyle and wellbeing, but that they are not a replacement for other healthy living skills. The goal of this brief overview is to put basic information on antioxidants in simple and usable terms and at the same time remind you that lasting health and wellness is achieved only when we exercise our creativity in a constructive way, nurture all aspects of our being (physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual), and live in synch and alignement with our purpose. The state of our health directly affects our success in other areas of our life and as important as our mental and spiritual development are, health of our physical body is of just as much importance.
May this article serve as a little spark of motivation to add another piece of the puzzle to your healthy and empowered lifestyle.

As always, please feel free to email any of the questions we may be of assistance with.

In Health, Abundance, Love, and Light,

Daniela Sales

The Avokado Studio of Arts for Creative Living

Disclaimer: The statements in this article are for educational purposes only and have not been evaluated by or sanctioned by the FDA. Only your doctor can properly diagnose
and treat any disease or disorder. The remedies discussed herein are not meant to treat or cure any type of disease. The user understands that the above information is
NOT intended as a substitute for the advice of a physician or a pharmacist.

Packer, L., Colman, C. (1999). The Antioxidant Miracle. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Author's Bio: 

Daniela Sales has been teaching and studying variety of holistic healing skills and arts for creative and holistic wellness since 2004. Through her work at Body&Mind LLC and The Avokado Studio she creates educational and practical classes and workshops to empower and motivate her clients to rediscover their innate wellbeing and to allow themselves to enjoy abundance of blessings Mother Nature has provided us with.

Daniela Sales teaches how to use herbs, oils, aromatherapy, and foods on daily basis to improve one’s holistic lifestyle. Along with that she also teaches various ways of incorporating energy healing techniques and meditation into one’s daily life.

As a coach and educator it is her most sincere goal to empower you to make wise health supporting choices in your daily life to support wellness on all levels of your being – physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

Through personal consultations, practical classes and workshops, herbal and oil creations, Reiki, crystal balancing, and guided meditations Daniela provides guidance and support for healthful and creative holistic lifestyle.

Daniela Sales is Reiki Master Teacher and is trained in: Spiritual Energy Work, Meditation Facilitating, Crystal and Gemstone Healing, Herbalism and Regression Work. As a lifelong student she continues and furthers her studies and knowledge of Natural Health and Holistic Wellness at the Clayton College of Natural Health.

In the passion for empowering others to create their own wellness through a holistic lifestyle, Daniela has created the Avokado Studio of Arts for Creative Living and Body&Mind LLC store for holistic health and beauty at