You have probably heard of the term antioxidants numerous times. But do you know what they are, and how they work? Fear not; we are going to take you through everything you need to know about antioxidants today – just keep on reading!
What are antioxidants?
Simply put, they are substances that can prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals (unstable atoms), but more on those later. Your body has its antioxidant defences to keep these free radicals in check.
Antioxidants can also be found in a variety of foods such as berries, artichokes, kale and even dark chocolate. There are also several vitamins, such as vitamin E and C, that act as effective antioxidants. They have an array of benefits for your body, both inside and out.
Antioxidants such as vitamins, polyphenols and flavonoids can slow down collagen degradation by reducing the concentration of free radicals in the tissues. They can stimulate your body’s new collagen production while protecting your existing collagen from free radicals. But what are polyphenols and flavonoids? They are both phytonutrients, which are plant foods that contain thousands of natural chemicals.
Polyphenols naturally protect plants from environmental stresses, and their job is to withstand this stress. It has been demonstrated that polyphenols can do the same for the skin by visibly repairing environmental damage and protecting against free radicals. Flavonoids are compounds that are naturally found in fruits and vegetables; they can help your body ward off every day toxins and keep it healthy.
How do they protect against free radicals?
Let’s start with what free radicals are - they are unstable molecules/atoms that are naturally formed when you exercise and when your body converts food into energy. You can also be exposed to free radicals from a variety of environmental sources such as air pollution and sunlight. The free radicals can cause oxidative stress, a process where cells can be damaged, this happens when free radicals outnumber antioxidants.
Oxidative stress can damage your DNA and other important molecules in your body. Some scientists believe that it plays a pivotal role in the ageing process. As the skin begins to oxidise over time, fine lines, wrinkles, and discolouration can become more prominent. These signs also occur after collagen begins to degrade from oxidative stress. These free radicals break cells down, and as we age, the body loses its ability to fight the effects.
Antioxidants are said to help neutralise the free radicals in your body, which can boost your overall health. However, it’s important to note that no single antioxidant can combat the effects of every free radical though, they each behave differently due to their chemical properties.
Where are antioxidants found?We mentioned previously that antioxidants can be found in certain foods and may prevent some of the damage caused by free radicals by neutralising them. These include nutrient antioxidants vitamins A, C and E – better known as the ACE vitamins, minerals copper and zinc, plus polyphenols.
As mentioned before, many foods are rich in antioxidants like broccoli, spinach, carrots, berries, and citrus fruits. However, you should keep in mind that the overall antioxidant content in foods has decreased due to soil depletion from modern farming. So, any antioxidant nutrients in fruits and vegetables that make it through this process can then be diminished due to cooking, processing, preserving, and packaging that is common today. This is why there might be a need for supplementary antioxidants.
Supplements like our Skin Radiance and Red Magic are rich in antioxidants that can combat free radical activity. Each delivers the nutritional power of berries and fruit without the sugar.
Another product of ours which is rich in nutrient antioxidants is the Complete Collagen gel sachets. While providing you with your daily dose of collagen, vitamins and minerals, it can contribute to protecting your cells from oxidative stress, promoting skin vitality.
When discussing the antioxidant capacities of different foods and supplements, you may hear the term ‘ORAC’, which stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. This is the scientific standard for measuring the antioxidant potency of foods and dietary supplements. It is believed that foods and supplements with higher ORAC scores have the greater antioxidant capacity, and more effectively neutralise harmful free radicals.
Antioxidants in skincareYou might not be aware that antioxidants can be found in your skincare products as well. They can do a world of good for your skin and are an all-start class of ingredients. Some essential antioxidants found in skincare include vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E. You can utilise skincare for a full spectrum of vitamins and antioxidants to help protect your skin by limiting free radical production.
Studies have shown that the inclusion of antioxidants in your skincare regimen can help your skin fight free radical damage and recover from oxidative stress. With daily use, you can help combat visible signs of ageing and calm skin inflammations. Several antioxidants also provide the skin with hydration and increase moisture retention to help revitalize dull-looking skin.
Vitamins C and E are common ingredients that work together to boost and enhance the skin. Vitamin C is one of the cofactors in collagen synthesis, as it is required by specific enzymes involved in the formation of collagen. Without enough vitamin C, there could be an accelerated collagen breakdown because the enzymes are not able to work efficiently.
Vitamin C is just one of the powerhouse ingredients used in the potent formulas of our skincare range. These products work on the outside layers of the skin to stimulate collagen synthesis and help to minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while improving complexion and offering protection from environmental stressors.
To recap..Antioxidants are molecules that neutralize free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can harm your cells. They play a vital role within the body and the ageing process.
You can find all the essentials antioxidants, vitamins and minerals in our collagen supplements, collagen drinks, wellbeing products, and skincare.