There are a number of antioxidant supplements on the market, which can make it difficult to navigate through the various options to find the best option for you. It's important to understand their benefits and uses, as well as learn which products are the best available.
Powerful Blended Supplement: CarotenALL
With so many important antioxidants, blended supplements can be a great option, especially for beneficial carotenoids like beta-carotene, lutein/zeaxanthin and lycopene - a combination recommended by WebMD.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin: Lutein and zeaxanthin, proteins found together in many vegetables, are potent antioxidants. They are thought to be crucial to healthy vision and, according to the American Optometric Association, "reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration and cataracts."
Lycopene: Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that may help protect cells from damage. Medline Plus states that people take lycopene for the prevention of heart disease due to atherosclerosis and for protection against various forms of cancer. It is also used for treating human papilloma virus (HPV) infection. Some people even use lycopene for cataracts and asthma.
CarotenALL from Jarrow Formulas an ideal blended carotenoid supplement. It has numerous positive customer reviews on Vitacost.com, with customers describing it as a "great supplement" and saying that the product "will do just as it claims."
CarotenALL is sourced from palm oil, which makes it highly absorbable by the body since carotenoids are best absorbed with fat.
This supplement contains no wheat, gluten, soybeans, dairy, egg, fish/shellfish, peanuts/tree nuts or other known and common allergens.
Individual Antioxidant Supplements
Carotenoids aren't the only beneficial antioxidants to consider. Seven key supplements you may want to consider include:
Vitamin E is one of the most important antioxidant supplements to consider taking for prevention of disease.
Carlson Labs - E-GEMS PLUS 400 IU is one of the best products because it contains d-alpha-tocopherol, which is vitamin E derived from natural food sources, making it more easily absorbed by the body. This supplement comes in a soft gel form, which makes it easy to swallow. Carlson Labs is also rated by ConsumerLab.com as one of the top-rated vitamin and supplement brands.
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient with antioxidant functions. According to Natural News, "there is not a known virus that can survive in the presence of this essential antioxidant."
Vitamin C (also known as ascorbate or L-ascorbic acid) has been shown to be able to detoxify the body and kill cancer cells.
Vitamin C helps in wound healing, improves the absorption of iron and helps the immune system work properly, protecting the body from disease.
Solaray's Vitamin C is an excellent choice for vitamin C supplementation because of its time-release formula. This formula releases half of the vitamin C in each capsule rapidly and the other half gradually over a period of up to 12 hours. This is important because Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning that the body absorbs what it needs and discards the rest. People need a constant supply of vitamin C in order to get its full benefits.
Swanson Premium's Selenium - (L-Selenomethionine) is a great choice because it contains the organic form of selenium, which is absorbed at a 90% rate and is retained. Additionally, both ConsumerLab.com and MDJuction websites rate Swanson vitamins very high.
Cranberries are one of the top foods proven to have health benefits and are chock full of antioxidants. While eating cranberries is the ideal way to enjoy these benefits, supplements are also a good option.
Cranberries could reduce cardiovascular disease risk and may aid in the reduction of "bad" LDL cholesterol levels while at the same time increase the levels of the "good" HDL cholesterol.
They are commonly used for prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections and some bladder conditions, as well as to speed skin healing and reduce fever.
Cranberries can help prevents the formation of insoluble kidney stones.
The Vitamin Shoppe's Cranberry with D-Mannose is an excellent option. Cranberry works synergistically with D-Mannose (a sugar related to glucose), to promote a healthy urinary tract. The Vitamin Shoppe brand receives high ratings from the ConsumerLab.com. Additionally, this product does not contain any known allergens.
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Zinc is a mineral with powerful antioxidant benefits, though it's important to avoid exceeding the recommended dosage.
Zinc helps to make proteins and DNA, thus helping in wound healing.
Dr. Mercola states that zinc is important for proper senses of taste and smell, and helps prevent and treat psoriasis, eczema, and acne.
Zinc Balance from Jarrow Formulas is an excellent choice due to its combination of Zinc and Copper in a 15:1 ratio. This is very important, as people who take too much zinc for a long time may develop copper deficiency, which can cause neurological problems such as numbness and weakness in the arms and legs. Vitacost customers rate this product highly, describing it as an affordable and effective low-dosage zinc supplement.
Resveratrol is an antioxidant found naturally in red grapes and wine, and its health benefits are significant.
It can be beneficial for preventing blood clots, protecting against artery damage and slowing the growth of melanoma cells.
Resveratrol Ultra from Integrative Therapeutics is an excellent choice, as it is one of the few supplements that actually has the quantity of Resveratrol shown to have beneficial effects in research studies. The Integrative Therapeutics brand is also highly regarded in the supplement market and, according to ConsumerLab.com, it is a leading manufacturer and distributor of science-based nutritional supplements.
Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10) is a vitamin-like substance found throughout the body, especially in the heart, liver, kidney, and pancreas. It can also be made in a laboratory and it is used as medicine. CoQ10 levels decrease with age and certain medical conditions, so supplementation can be important.
CoQ-10 is used for cell growth and for protecting the cells from damage that could lead to various forms of cancer.
The Co Q10 400 mg Ultra Formula by 21st Century is the only supplement with the same dosage used in most studies testing the effectiveness of this substance, making it an excellent choice in general. However, be cautious, as supplementation with CoQ-10 should be personalized and adjusted by your physician. The company 21st Century is ranked high among supplement-producing companies by ConsumerLab.com.
Avoid Excessive Dosages
Accidental overdose of antioxidants can occur. It's important to realize that anything above the recommended daily intake may actually cause more harm than good. One good example is vitamin A, which can be beneficial for liver diseases, cystic fibrosis, Crohn's disease and much more. However, vitamin A should be taken with caution, especially with supplementation, as there is some evidence that it might increase the risk of hip fractures and some birth defects. It may also interfere with the beneficial actions of vitamin D and an overdose could even lead to death.
Remember that supplements are intended to - as the word says - 'supplement' a healthy diet and a regular exercise routine, and not replace food intake. If you decide to take any these supplements, make sure you read and follow the label instructions carefully. Always check with your health care provider about the supplements' safety and whether they have any particular interactions with your medications.