The simple supplement that unleashes powerful antioxidant protection

Free radicals… antioxidants… premature aging… disease.

By now you have probably read a lot about free radicals and how they are largely responsible for the disease and aging process.

That’s because free radicals literally break down healthy cells — killing and mutating them. That’s how you can end up with atherosclerosis, arthritis, diabetes, neurodegenerative disorders, and even cancer.

You can try your best to avoid them by reducing your exposure to pollution, toxic metals, alcohol, cigarette smoke, radiation, and chemicals. However, your own body produces free radicals during oxygen metabolism.

And, of course, you can try fighting them, too — with antioxidants you’ll find in high ORAC foods, including dark chocolate, green tea, and coffee (or supplements). ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) is the measurement by which a food’s total antioxidant capacity is measured. The higher the ORAC score, the stronger at fighting off free radicals.

Read: 12 symptoms of a free-radical attack

But, according to my colleague, Dr. Mark Wiley, “When there is an imbalance in the production of free radicals from the metabolism of energy from the air you breathe, oxidative stress is the result. This is usually countered with antioxidants, but there is often a deficit of antioxidant power in relation to an excess in free radicals.”

So, if this is the case, what else can you do overcome the free radicals destroying your body and your health?

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Zinc to the rescue

The reason certain foods score high on the ORAC scale is that they are polyphenols (plant substances). Dark chocolate’s antioxidant power stems from cocoa beans; coffee from coffee beans; and of course, tea, from tea leaves.

Within polyphenols are hydroquinone groups — and some interesting new research shows that the trace mineral zinc activates the hydroquinone group to provide natural protection against superoxide — the free radical produced during cell respiration (part of oxygen metabolism) that damages cells and even DNA.

On its own, the hydroquinone groups aren’t able to clobber sinister superoxide. But when combined with zinc, a metal complex is created that mimics a superoxide dismutase enzyme (SOD). And it’s these enzymes that are powerfully effective at protecting your body from the degradation caused by free radical oxidation.

Previously, the function of SOD enzymes has been spurred using metals such as manganese, iron, copper or nickel. Zinc is a preferable catalyst, however, because if too much metal is used, not only can it be toxic, but can have the opposite effect: creating more oxidative stress instead of fighting it.

Zinc-infused high ORAC foods?

Discoveries like this often open-up the door to ideas about new health products.

In this case, the researchers surmised that it’s certainly possible that coffee, tea or chocolate could one day be infused with zinc. Perhaps even combination supplements made of antioxidants and zinc will hit the market.

These aren’t bad ideas. But zinc is already readily available in supplement form, and the long list of powerful antioxidant foods includes so many great tasting foods, I have a better idea…

Anytime you enjoy your favorite cup of tea, coffee or a dark chocolate bar, or your favorite antioxidant supplement, like resveratrol, take a zinc supplement afterward. Consider it a little insurance that your favorite antioxidant-rich foods have some extra backup to fight the onslaught of free radicals working against you.

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Sources:

  1. Free Radicals: Properties, Sources, Targets, and Their Implication in Various DiseasesIndian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry
Margaret Cantwell

By Margaret Cantwell

Margaret Cantwell began her paleo diet in 2010 in an effort to lose weight. Since then, the diet has been instrumental in helping her overcome a number of other health problems. Thanks to the benefits she has enjoyed from her paleo diet and lifestyle, she dedicates her time as managing editor of Easy Health Digest™, researching and writing about a broad range of health and wellness topics, including diet, exercise, nutrition and supplementation, so that readers can also be empowered to experience their best health possible.

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