Antioxidant therapy is a way of treating patients with a variety of natural vitamins and nutrients to try to limit certain types of degenerative conditions. Doctors are looking for ways to use this type of medical treatment to help patients fight a range of diseases from diabetes to cardiovascular problems. Antioxidants naturally present in a wide range of foods, and consequently, the science of antioxidant therapy is closely linked to the science of nutrition.
Antioxidants are a category of chemical elements of vitamins and nutrients that help prevent oxidation in the body. Scientists define oxidation technically as the removal of electrons from molecules. On another level, oxidation is a process that allows for negative cellular activities that can lead to certain types of cancer or heart disease.
Antioxidants are found in a wide range of fruits and vegetables, such as peppers, greens, tropical fruit, citrus fruits and other brightly colored natural foods. 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 to the color of berries and colored plants. All of these can be added to a diet to increase the body’s antioxidant absorption, but much of this health value can be lost in cooking, processing or storing food, which makes it more difficult to provide a high volume through diet alone.
Antioxidant therapy can include dietary changes and specific food supplements. In general, antioxidant supplements are considered relatively safe. There are some side effects of high intake of certain antioxidants, including nausea, stomach pain. Other side effects and medical interactions may apply to some individuals.
Some doctors are excited about what antioxidant therapy can provide for a wide range of patients. Other doctors are critical of negligent or unsupervised use of antioxidant supplements, and warn the public that individuals should see their doctors and consult with them before starting an antioxidant food supplement regimen. Nutritionists and food experts generally want the public to learn more about antioxidants and how to use them in a daily diet to benefit from a wide range of healthy chemical interactions. More and more people around the world are looking for food science as a way to fight disease and provide a quality of life for themselves.