During the normal metabolic activity of our bodies, a process called oxidant stress occurs. Oxidant stress is the name given to the cellular process that results in the formation of reactive byproducts. These byproducts are types of oxygen that can take one of three forms – molecular oxygen, superoxide, and peroxide. These oxidants, or free radicals, steal nutrients from healthy cells, essentially starving them to death. As the affected cells begin to degenerate, they release more free radicals and the process has the potential to multiply exponentially.
To counter the damaging effects of free radicals, our body uses antioxidants to neutralize free radicals and safely remove them from our system.
Studies have shown that as we age, our bodies are less capable of neutralizing oxidants due to a reduction of available antioxidants. It is generally accepted that this reduction in antioxidants begins somewhere between 28 and 30 years of age, and the older we get, the less antioxidants we produce. The resulting cellular breakdown from increased oxidant activity is a primary contributor to the aging process.
The aging process affects all functioning systems including skin, organs, nerves, cardiovascular, and the immune system. This equates to conditions such as skin that has less elasticity and becomes wrinkled, becoming sick more easily, heart disease, and memory loss.
Augmenting our bodies with an adequate supply of antioxidants is essential to maintaining healthy cells and slowing the aging process. While there are antioxidants in certain foods we eat, their overall contribution is usually not enough. Taking vitamins or supplements daily that contain antioxidants are a good way to maintain cellular health and slow the aging process.