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So what is an antioxidant? And why is it important for immune balance?

Posted Jan 27 2011 12:07pm

Antioxidant-loaded blueberries

We hear so much about antioxidants these days.  They are important for the body in so many ways. Antioxidants, found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and quality vitamin and mineral supplements, may reduce cancer risk (although the science is still not settled or conclusive yet), may reduce risk for cardiovascular disease .

Antioxidant nutrients such as selenium, vitamins C and E, plant nutrients such as lycopene, lutein and many classes of miconutrients such as flavenols and catechins , help to stabilize unstable ROS (reactive oxygen species, or “oxidant”) molecules that can form in the body through exposure to pollution, chemicals, bad diet, or other environmental factors. The bad ROS molecules have unmatched pairs of electrons, and are constantly looking for more electrons to “scavenge” or steal from healthy cells. As this scavenging occurs and snowballs, if left unchecked, the result is cell death to healthy cells who lent their electrons to the ROS, and cell proliferation of the unhealthy ROS molecules.

Antioxidants are able to lend their electrons to ROS, thereby stabilizing the ROS while preserving healthy cells. For the immune system this is important.  We don’t want ROS, commonly termed as “free radicals,” stealing electrons from immune system killer cells or suppressor cells, thereby rendering them dysfunctional and disrupting the communication pathways so crucial to immune cells coordinating their battle plan against pathogen invaders.

EpiCor is antioxidant rich, as are the good fruits, vegetables and whole grains we all need.

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