Antioxidants: Why 'Five a Day'?
So we are all told to eat our ‘Five-a-day’ fruit or veg, but why? What is the reason? To keep us healthy? To ward off disease? To lose weight? To stop ageing? Because they are better for us?.....
…….and super foods, what is a super food? The brightly coloured foods which carry around the label of super foods such as Blueberries, Pomegranate and Cranberries, why are these so good for us?
One of the major reasons is, they are full of antioxidants! Antioxidants play a major role in the ‘detoxifying’, or ‘cleaning’ of our bodies. They can help to slow down ageing, and the many effects of this, and they help the body to protect against harmful effects of various different kinds of damage and pollution.
Antioxidants provide the body with a natural defence against free radicals, which is why it is now recommended that you eat foods which are rich in these nutrients.
|Food Item||Portion Equivalent|
| Large vegetables
(carrots, courgettes, broccoli, spinach, leeks)
|2 Heaped tablespoons|
| Small vegetables
|3 Heaped tablespoons|
|Beans (various)||2 Heaped tablespoons|
|Mixed salad||1 Large cereal bowl full|
Berries (blueberries, strawberries)
Small fruits (large plums, kiwi fruit)
Medium fruit (banana, orange, apple)
Large fruit (pineapple, melon)
Stewed fruit/canned fruit
1 Full cup
1 Large slice
3 Heaped tablespoons
|Pure fruit juice||1 Large glass (300ml)|
So the honest answer is….a lot of fresh fruit and veg!! And what we are not told, is that by far the majority of fruit and veg we buy from our supermarkets is sprayed and treated with chemicals and pesticides so it reaches our plates looking he correct shape, and is resistant to disease, therefore more appealing to the supermarket buyers!
So as well as the goodness of fresh produce, we are also taking in the possible contaminants and chemicals which most products contain. What is this doing to our bodies, and how do they deal with the potentially damaging effects?
For most of us, anyway, we are not able to keep up this intake of fresh fruit and veg daily, which is where supplements come into it!
“Oxidative damage to human DNA is estimated at 105 hits per day per cell!”
CoQ10, also known as ubiqiuinone is a vitamin like substance which is found in some foods and in every cell of the body, and is especially rich in foods such as meats and offal (liver and heart).
CoQ10 is an essential component in converting the foods we eat into energy, as it is a link in the chain of events in the energy conversion process. As such it is considered by many experts that a deficiency in CoQ10 may lead to the individual feeling a lack of energy and tiredness. (It is biologically important as it forms part of the system across which electrons flow in the cells in the process of energy production. In fact 95% of the body’s energy needs CoQ10 for its conversion for use in the body).
CoQ10 is also a very effective antioxidant and ‘mops up’, or neutralises harmful ‘free radicals’ which are generated by situations such as toxin overload, stress, and often just as a part of the ageing process.
There is no actual RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance, also should be understood that the RDA is the very least amount you should take to avoid deficiency, and is not necessarily the optimum level) for CoQ10, however, “experts recommend that at least 15-30mg should be taken daily for optimum health.”
Weber et al (1997) Nutr. Res
Hathcock & Shao (2006) Reg. Tox. And Pharmacol.
Frishman et al (2005) Curr. Probl Cardiol
There has been a recent wave of interest in the health benefits of CoQ10 – with clinical trials demonstrating improvement in various diseases and treatments. This is in addition to the use of CoQ10 in the prevention of mitochondrial morbidity, which is strongly linked to neural and brain cell ageing and age-related cognitive decline.
On top of this the even stronger evidence of the benefits of CoQ10 in cardiovascular health.
The benefits associated with elevated levels of CoQ10 should not be surprising as it is a ubiquitous component of all our cells.
The problem with CoQ10 supplementation is the very poor bioavailability caused by poor absorption in the gut because the CoQ10 molecule is very large and highly lipophilic, making it difficult to emulsify and incorporate into micelles. To compound this, most benefits of CoQ10 are associated with higher doseage levels (60-300mg/day).
We have recognised this and pre-emulsified the CoQ10 in a chewable CoQ10 tablet to help improve bioavailability and also provide an excellent dose of 60mg per chewable tablet. Visit the antioxidant product page.