The Antioxidant Network
Your Body's Primary Defense System

If there's just one thing to know about the antioxidant network, it's that the components that make it up work as a team, not independently, as originally thought. Thanks to Dr. Lester Packer, a pre-eminent cell biologist, we now know that the benefits of antioxidants combined are much more powerful than the individual antioxidants put together.

See my page, How Do Antioxidants Work? to investigate this further.

Dr. Packer, who has over 50 years of research in the field, is regarded as the world's foremost authority on antioxidants. He has dubbed what he considers the most significant group of them as the antioxidant network.

"The antioxidant 'miracle' makes it possible… to prevent and perhaps even eradicate many of the degenerative diseases that were once considered an inevitable part of aging."

Dr. Lester Packer, PhD.

Components of The Antioxidant Network

The primary components of the antioxidant network are:

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  • Glutathione Your body's primary water-soluble antioxidant.
  • Lipoic acid The "universal" antioxidant, because it works everywhere.

These are by no means the only antioxidants that play a significant role in your health. Working with this network are certain plant phytochemicals: the bioflavonoids and carotenoids, and the trace mineral selenium.

In addition to these, there are many other specialized antioxidants that you'll want to know about. You'll find them all here, throughout this website.

The Antioxidant Network in Action

The primary job of this network is to continually replenish the other members when they are lost through oxidative stress. When one member of the network neutralizes a free radical, it becomes a free radical itself, although much weaker. It is then replenished by one or more of the other network members. The newly regenerated molecule moves on to find and repair another free radical molecule.

This cycle then repeats itself continuously, maintaining a healthy balance in your body. This process of cell oxidation and recovery happens more times than you could imagine—about 10,000 times every day for each of the trillions of cells in your body.

The Network works as a team.
Although these members of the network all work together, each has its own distinct function. Because each cell in your body has a fat-based membrane (outer shell) and a water-based nucleus (center), it needs different antioxidants in different areas.

Fat-soluble vitamin E and coenzyme Q-10 protect the fatty cell membrane and the mitochondria, while water-based vitamin C and glutathione protect the cell interior. Lipoic acid has the unique ability to go anywhere. One member of the network rescues another one when they become oxidized by free radicals. This clearly demonstrates the principle that you need all of these antioxidants in sufficient amounts.

"More than 70% of Americans will die prematurely from diseases caused by or compounded by deficiencies of the antioxidant network… these conditions can be prevented, controlled, and in some cases even cured."

Dr. Lester Packer, PhD.

Why You'd Want to Supplement with
the Network Antioxidants

Your body normally makes its own supply of lipoic acid, glutathione and CoQ-10, but this ability declines drastically with age. By age 40, you may be producing only enough of these to meet your body's most basic metabolic needs, and not enough to get any protection against oxidative stress. The network then becomes overwhelmed with work. It doesn't see problems and fails to respond when it should, and that's when diseases take hold.

Your diet is not a reliable source of these antioxidants. Since there are no food sources high enough in vitamin E, lipoic acid, and CoQ-10, supplements are the only way to get therapeutic amounts. This becomes increasingly more important as you get older and your needs increase, while at the same time, your body's ability to manufacture these critical antioxidants is diminishing.

You can learn much more about these important antioxidants by going to the individual pages for each one; just click on the link for the antioxidant you're interested in:

Vitamin CVitamin ECoQ-10GlutathioneLipoic Acid

Antioxidants Home Page from The Antioxidant Network


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