Something I’ve heard mentioned a time or two when talking about high antioxidant foods such as the acai berry is the possibility of an antioxidant overdose. I simply brushed the thought aside under the “too much of a good thing, can in fact, be a bad thing” mentality. Afterall, how can a food nicknamed the super berry possibly be a bad thing? I know quite a few people who include acai and other high antioxidant foods in their diet and haven’t ever heard anything negative. After some reading into the subject I figured it was about time to get an explanation on this site – and it all revolves around free radicals.
Antioxidants are good because they have the potential to give away an electron. Substances with unpaired electrons can be dangerous to the human body, damaging cells in the nearby area. That potentially harmful substance in need of one more electron is called a free radical. Antioxidants donate the electron and that nasty free radical is neutralized. Now, you’d think all is well – problem averted. Wrong! When an antioxidant donates an electron, well now it’s one electron short and it too becomes a free radical. For example, Vitamin C is an antioxidant, but after it donates it’s electron it becomes an ascorbyl radical – which can be harmful in excess. The solution? Have another type of antioxidant handy. Glutathione has the ability to donate an electron to ascorbyl radical, turning it back into beneficial Vitamin C. Of course, you guessed it, you’re body is left with a Glutathione radical.
The solution to this seemingly endless problem? In the end, neutralizing free radicals is healthy for the body, but every antioxidant has the potential to become another type of free radical. At the end of the day it is important to have a natural, balanced diet providing antioxidants from many sources. Blueberries, pomegranate and of course the acai berry are all great sources. Some of the most concentrated antioxidants come from dark pigmented fruits – you’ve probably heard the rule, the darker the fruit, the better it is for our health.