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Is a Vitamin an Antioxidant?

Natural SupplementsA vitamin is a biochemical substance from food that is essential for human / animal life. Their functional forms and complexity can differ according to animal species. Vitamins from food do not increase the risk of cancer or impair immune function.

An antioxidant is a substance made by plants that protect its phytonutrient components (vitamin complex) from oxidation during plant growth and metabolism. Plants (green portion) create oxygen as a toxic by-product through the complex process of photosynthesis (converting light energy to chemical energy) and thus need protection against oxidation. Oxygen is toxic to plants while essential to animals. Plants expel oxygen and create antioxidants for self-protection. Humans and animals require oxygen to live. They create carbon dioxide as a toxic by-product through metabolism and expel it through exhaling. Plants require carbon dioxide to live and grow.

Oxygen, made by plants, is the most important nutrient for humans / animals on earth. Without oxygen, all such life-forms, terrestrial and aquatic, would be extinguished within minutes and water could not exist.

Carbon dioxide is the most important nutrient for plant life on earth. Without carbon dioxide, plants would cease to grow and live. Humans and animals do not make antioxidants and plants do not make anti-carbon dioxides. To do so would be suicidal.

During routine metabolism, utilizing oxygen, human / animal cells generate reactive oxygen species (ROS) commonly called free radicals. This is normal. ROS are crucial to the body in the destruction of pathogens and pre-cancerous cells. Exogenous antioxidants (from supplements) inhibit or quench ROS reactions in the body. Cells do not require outside sources of antioxidants to regulate ROS. Internally, all cells contain enzymes that regulate and control ROS (superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase and others). Regulation and control is not the same as doing away with.

Antioxidants (from supplements) inhibit the human body’s ability to destroy precancerous and cancer cells by suppressing apoptosis1 which is a ROS-dependent process. Both ROS and certain vitamins are essential to the proper immune function of destroying pathogens. The same vitamins that erroneously are currently described as antioxidants.

Exogenous Antioxidants suppress the ability of the immune system to destroy pathogenic organisms. Neutrophils2 destroy pathogens using ROS during phagocytosis3. Antioxidants suppress the generation and action of ROS during phagocytosis.

Higher antioxidant levels in plants tend to correlate to higher plant concentrations of vitamin complexes in plants.

Unlike exogenous antioxidants, vitamins and phytonutrients do not contribute to carcinogenesis or impaired immune function.

Antioxidants are not vitamin complexes. They simply protect vitamin complexes in plants. Antioxidants are efficiently eliminated from the human body via urine. Essential nutrients are retained and utilized within the body. Substances entering the body and swiftly eliminated are called “xenobiotics4“. Antioxidants transit the body within minutes to hours.

Essential nutrients remain in the body and either combine with other substances (e.g. amino acids combine to form proteins), become part of enzyme and co-enzyme systems, or become part of the body’s physical structure or biochemistry such as the nutrient precursors of hormones.

Glossary of Terms

Apoptosis: programmed cell death by disintegration of cells into membrane-bound particles that are eliminated by phagocytosis. It is a core mechanism for the death of precancerous and cancer cells.

Neutrophil cell: an especially abundant type of leukocyte (phagocytic white blood cell) that is highly destructive of microorganisms.

Phagocytosis: the engulfing and ingestion of bacteria or other foreign bodies by phagocytes.

Xenobiotic: a chemical or substance that is foreign to an organism or biological system.

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