Antioxidants - the natural protective

Perhaps you have already asked yourself once or twice how your body can withstand what you put it through: sunburns, stress, bad food, too little sleep. 

Our body is very resilient, so an illness with serious symptoms is often the result of several interacting previous stresses on the organism. The body has developed systems for itself to ensure the supply of our body.  Connections of individual arterial supply systems, so-called anastomoses, for example, ensure that all organs are supplied with blood even if one system is blocked. If the arteries, for example those supplying the eye, are narrowed, the body can compensate for this for some time with such a connection. Nevertheless, the system eventually fails completely. The consequence of this can be serious diseases. 

Have you ever wondered what protective mechanisms your body has integrated to prevent these diseases?

Our body can compensate a lot: 

Blood vessels, for example, can take over the supply of a tissue because of their anastomoses. Furthermore, the regeneration of cells prevents the degenerative death process. In some cases, the body possesses additional spleens in order not to have to forfeit the function of the spleen in the event of a rupture. In case of liver cirrhosis, it is possible to remove 60% of the liver without affecting its function. That is quite a lot. 

Do you know of another important protective mechanism? Maybe you've heard of antioxidants. But do you know what it really is?

Table of Contents:

  • What are antioxidants?

  • What are free radicals?

  • How are free radicals formed?

  • Why are antioxidants so important/where do they preferentially occur?

  • Where are antioxidants found?

  • What can interfere with antioxidants?

  • What can you do to protect your cells? 

  • What are antioxidants?

 What are antioxidants?  

Antioxidants, the protection of your cells. Have you heard of this before? There's actually some truth to it.

Antioxidants are a group of molecules that have the ability to neutralize free radicals. This probably sounds very abstract to you. 

Imagine you have 9 sandwiches to share with your friends when you get home. There are eight of you, so you don't really need the ninth sandwich. You meet a hungry thief on the street. He wants to steal a sandwich from you. Knowing that you don't need the ninth sandwich, you let him have it. The thief goes on his way with it and does not need to steal from anyone else. In this example, you were the antioxidant and the thief was the free radical. 


What are free radicals? 

In our example, the free radical was the thief. This is roughly how you can think of free radicals. A free radical is a molecule that has no binding partner and is therefore very unstable. It is now looking for a new bonding partner and snatches an electron from other molecules. The scheme continues in a chain-like fashion, because by interfering, the free radical has taken the electron away from another molecule, making it a radical.

In our example, the thief would steal someone else's food, causing that person to again have no food and become the thief. This is, of course, highly exaggerated, but in principle you can perhaps imagine it better this way. 

In society, too many thieves can lead to a breakdown of normal order. In the cell, something similar happens: free radicals can damage the cell, causing it to die in the worst case.

Such a free radical doesn't sound like it would normally occur in our body, does it? In the following, we would like to explain to you how free radicals are formed. 


How are free radicals formed?

Free radicals are created during the energy production of our body. Here, energy is obtained in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) in the mitochondria of the cells (for more details on ATP, our universal energy carrier, click here). During the respiratory chain, oxygen is used and oxidized to oxygen radicals (meaning electrons are given off). Nevertheless, these free radicals cannot become dangerous to our cell, because the mitochondria are separated from the rest of the cell and thus cannot enter the cell.

 A reaction is built into the respiratory chain that reduces these oxygen radicals again (it takes up electrons). Nevertheless, even in healthy individuals, up to 5% of these radicals remain, which is not that little given the activity of the mitochondrion. 

That's where our antioxidants come in. They are found in the two mitochondrial membranes and ideally ensure that the leftover free radicals are scavenged. Notable antioxidants include resveratrol, OPC, vitamin C, vitamin E, alpha lipoic acid and curcumin. Since we cannot produce these substances ourselves (except for alpha-lipoic acid), they must be ingested through food.  This is where the first challenge arises, because often the term OPC, for example, does not mean very much. Where are antioxidants contained and what do all these abbreviations stand for? 


Where are antioxidants found?

Antioxidants are a broad group. They include some plant substances that have an antioxidant effect. Such substances are called secondary plant substances, because they are not necessary for the survival of the plant, but quite helpful. For example, secondary plant substances ensure that solar radiation does not have a negative effect on the plant's cells. Figuratively speaking, the plant would have a sunburn, which, if it occurred frequently, would have a negative effect on the health of the plant. 

One of these phytochemicals is OPC, short for Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins, which is found primarily in grape seeds or peanut shells. These are foods that we do not consume in high quantities on a daily basis.

Curcumin is known to most. It is contained in small amounts (about 2-5%) in the turmeric root. The body cannot absorb the curcumin compound of the turmeric root well, because the molecule is very long and thus does not pass well through the cell membrane. Therefore, it makes sense to supply curcumin in a bioavailable form. Turmeric root alone is usually not enough, unfortunately.

You see, just listing a few secondary plant compounds, also called polyphenols, shows how difficult it is to naturally absorb the amount of antioxidants in large quantities. Add to that the fact that there is evidence that the quality and nutritional content of our fruits and vegetables have declined.

Further up the list, you may have noticed vitamins C and E, whose intake we can control with targeted diet or supplementation. Their functions as antioxidants are increasingly coming to the forefront of research and news.


What can affect antioxidants?

Since antioxidants neutralize free radicals, it is useful if the ratio of the two parties is correct. Thus, free radicals must not predominate. When free radicals predominate within the mitochondrion, they attack the mitochondrion's genetic information and membrane. As soon as the mitochondrial membrane and thus the demarcation to the cell is destroyed, substances of the mitochondrion are released. This can lead to the death of the entire cell. 

Now you may ask yourself how it can come to the fact that the free radicals predominate respectively too few antioxidants are present?

The following points can lead to this:

  • deficient nutrition

  • stress

  • environmental influences

  • toxins such as drugs or medications

  • neurological diseases

  • mitochondriopathies

  • etc.


So what to do?

You see: Your mitochondria are under constant attack and your defense system, the antioxidants, are more than relevant. Especially in our modern world, your cells are stressed many times over.

For additional support with antioxidants, we recommend the following products from MITOcare:

  • Polyphenols

  • Mitochondrien Formula (with mitotropic substances for a boost of your mitochondria)

  • LIPO Curcumin Booster

... and of course our MITO Natural Power Drink. Have you tried it yet?