Antioxidant therapy is a way of treating patients with a variety of natural vitamins and nutritional elements in order to try to limit some kinds of degenerative conditions. Doctors are looking at how to use this kind of medical treatment to help patients combat a range of illnesses from diabetes to cardiovascular issues. Antioxidants naturally occur in a wide range of foods, and as a result, the science of antioxidant therapy is closely linked to the science of nutrition.
Antioxidants are a category of chemical elements in vitamins and nutrients that help to prevent oxidization in the body. Scientists define oxidization technically as the removal of electrons from molecules. On another level, oxidization is a process that allows for negative cellular activities that can lead to certain types of cancers or heart conditions.
Antioxidants are found in a wide range of fruits and vegetables such as peppers, greens, tropical fruits, citrus fruits, and other brightly colored natural foods. The nutrients that contain a high amount of antioxidant value include vitamin C and vitamin E, as well as other elements called anthocyanins and anthocyanidins that contribute color to berries and brightly colored plants. All of these can be added to a diet to increase the body’s absorption of antioxidants, but much of this health value can be lost in cooking, processing or storing the foods, which makes it harder to deliver a high volume through diet alone.
Antioxidant therapy may include dietary changes as well as specific dietary supplements. Generally, antioxidant supplements are seen as relatively safe. There are some side effects of high intake of some antioxidants, including nausea or upset stomach. Other side effects and medical interactions may apply to some individuals.
Some doctors are enthusiastic about what antioxidant therapy can provide to a wide range of patients. Other doctors are critical of careless or unsupervised usage of antioxidant supplements, and warn the public that individuals should see their doctors and consult with them prior to starting a regimen of antioxidant dietary supplements. Nutritionists and food experts generally want the public to know more about antioxidants and how to use them in a daily diet to benefit from a wide range of healthy chemical interactions. More people around the world are looking at food science as a way to combat disease and provide a quality of life for themselves. Antioxidant therapy through diet fits into this philosophy of smart eating.