Which Vitamins Are Considered Antioxidants?
ntioxidants are those substances that help prevent damages caused by free radicals. These include nutrient antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Amongst the 13 types of vitamins, A, C, and E are considered antioxidants. The process of oxidation in your body damages all the cell membranes and various structures including lipids, cellular proteins as well as the DNA. And when oxygen is metabolized, it creates unstable molecules called free radicals which damages the genetic material and other cells. Vitamins- A, C, and E can help neutralize these free radicals and help prevent the damage.
Also known as ‘retinol’ since it produces the pigments in the retina of your eyes, it is a fat-soluble vitamin which is of two types namely the preformed vitamin A and the Provitamin A. While the former is found in animal products including fish, meat, poultry, and dairy products, the latter is found in plant-based foods such as vegetables and fruits.
Why should people take vitamin A?
Vitamin A is vital for healthy teeth, bones, soft tissue, mucus membranes, and skin. Oral and topical retinoids are the most commonly prescribed treatment options for acne and several other health conditions like wrinkles.
Role of Vitamin A as an antioxidant:
- Ever since your childhood, you must have been advised to eat carrots since they are good for your eyes. Although eating carrots might not guarantee a 20/20 vision, but they are enriched with beta-carotene which will be converted by your body into vitamin A, which is crucial for eye health. Vitamin A also helps counteract the processes that lead to vision impairment and several other health conditions.
- Vitamin A, carotenoids, and provitamin A are all effective antioxidants that inhibit the development of heart diseases. The antioxidant activity of this vitamin can neutralize free radicals including thiyl radicals and stabilizes peroxyl radicals. Because of its structure, the vitamin is one of the most effective antioxidants at low oxygen tensions that are typical of physiological levels found in tissues. The antioxidant property of vitamin A is highly effective for mitigating and defending against several forms of cardiovascular conditions. It also helps reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration by about 25%.
- The antioxidant nature of this vitamin makes it one of the best anti-aging ingredients that can help turn back the clock on aging skin. It helps stimulate collagen production, speed up cell renewal and repair, smoothens fine lines and wrinkles, and also helps improve your skin tone.
- The antioxidant nature of vitamin A also plays a vital role in preventing cancer. Studies have reported that dietary consumption of vitamin A helps prevent cancer development. Retinoids have been demonstrated to stop the growth and development of several types of cancers including the breast, skin, oral cavity, lung, prostatic, gastrointestinal, hepatic, and bladder.
Also known as ascorbic acid, this vitamin is found in berries, fresh fruits as well as vegetables. It is a water-soluble vitamin and plays a vital role in the growth, development, and repair of body tissues and is also involved in several body functions such as immune response, wound healing, and maintenance of teeth and bone health.
Role of Vitamin C as an antioxidant
- The vitamin is a very powerful antioxidant and has the ability to form a relatively stable ascorbyl-free radical. It has the potential to decrease oxidative damage and helps lower the risk of several chronic ailments.
- Vitamin C plays a very important role as an antioxidant in strengthening your body’s natural defenses and boosts your immune system. It does that protecting the cells of your body from harmful free radicals. Consuming more of this vitamin can help increase your blood antioxidant levels by up to 30%. It also helps your body’s natural defenses fight against inflammation.
- The vitamin boosts the production of white blood cells and phagocytes which help protect your body against infections. It is also an essential part of your skin’s defense system. While transported to your skin, it can act as an antioxidant and strengthen the barriers of your skin. It can also help shorten the duration of wound healing.
- It plays a crucial role in protecting your thinking and memory. Low levels of this vitamin have been associated with an impaired ability to remember and think. And a high intake of dietary vitamin C has been proven to offer a protective effect on thinking and memory.
Also known as tocopherol, this fat-soluble vitamin is a type of antioxidant which is available naturally in eight chemical forms. However, Alpha-tocopherol is the only form that has been recognized to meet the needs of human beings.
Excellent dietary sources of vitamin E include nuts (peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts) and vegetable oils including soybean, sunflower, safflower, corn, wheat germ, and soybean oils. Vitamin E protects against cell damage and helps reduce your risk of several health issues ranging from heart diseases to cancer.
Role as an antioxidant in preventing diseases
- Vitamin E is a very powerful antioxidant that is vital for immune system functioning. It also helps fight off infections. High intake of dietary vitamin E has been reported to improve the decreased cellular immunity caused by aging or due to diseases like AIDS. The vitamin has also been demonstrated to be important against free-radical injury, enhance the immune response, and play a vital role in preventing infections.
- The antioxidant nature of this vitamin also plays a vital role in protecting your eyesight. Increased dietary vitamin E intake is associated with a lowered risk of age-related cataracts.
- Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant and stops the chain reaction of free radicals. It protects cell membranes, proteins, and genetic material from oxidation and plays a vital role in cellular health.
- It is also a very important vitamin that is essential for the proper functioning of several body parts including the skin. The antioxidant nature of this vitamin is widely recognized for its ability to speed up the skin’s healing process. You must have found this vitamin to be enlisted in a wide range of moisturizers, creams, and lotions that are formulated to treat dry skin and reduce stretch marks. Vitamin E also plays a crucial role in reducing scarring after injuries including burns.
- It also helps protect against the damaging effects of free radicals that contribute to the development of chronic conditions including cancer. Higher dietary intake of this vitamin was reported to be reducing the risk of prostate cancer and breast cancer.