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Antioxidant overdose?

Feb 17

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 and Free RadicalsAntioxidants 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.

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1 Comment

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  1. Allison
    Mar 29 at 02:43

    Hey, I was reading your post, and decided to find out more about the possibility that antioxidants could produce free radicals, and i came across this. I’m not sure if it’s legit or not, but I’m going to look up a few more things on it. Let me know what you think!

    Thanks,
    Allison

    Antioxidant Definition
    It is not possible to give a simple antioxidant definition but it can be explained as below.
    As free radicals have deficiency of electrons, compounds are needed which can neutralize free radicals by donating their own electrons to free radicals but they themselves do not become free radicals in the process. This stops the electron-”stealing” chain reaction.
    The antioxidants themselves do not become free radicals by donating an electron because they are stable in either form. Antioxidants convert free radicals to harmless waste products that are eliminated from the body before any damage is done to the body.
    Thus the antioxidants act as scavengers, helping to prevent cell and tissue damage

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