Vitamin B is an antioxidant


“Antioxidants”, “free radicals”, “oxidative stress”: complicated terms that keep coming up in connection with anti-aging. Antioxidants, especially in the form of phytochemicals, are supposed to protect against cardiovascular diseases, arteriosclerosis, arthritis and cancer - by preventing cell-damaging processes, also known as oxidative stress. Since these are caused by so-called free radicals, antioxidants are also known as "radical scavengers".

Presence of antioxidants in food

According to the European Food Safety Authority, a large number of nutrients have an antioxidant effect:

  • Secondary plant substances: z. B. beta-carotene, lycopene, flavanol
  • Vitamins: A, B2, C and E.
  • Minerals: zinc and selenium

Accordingly, antioxidants are found in many different foods, such as: For example, vitamin C is found in fruits and vegetables, vitamin E in fish, nuts and vegetable oils, and zinc in meat and cheese products.

Dark chocolate contains many flavonoids - a secondary plant substance that has an anti-oxidative effect. In general, the following applies to chocolate: the darker, the healthier., Shutterstock Inc., New York, USA

Antioxidant needs

In this country there are no specific recommendations for the intake of antioxidants. However, the German Nutrition Society recommends the consumption of 200 g of fruit, 450 g of vegetables and one to two fish-containing meals per week. On the basis of such a balanced diet, the intake of sufficient antioxidants is well ensured.

The American health authority recommends a daily intake of 7,000 so-called ORAC units - this corresponds e.g. B. 75 g blueberries or a large apple. The ORAC value indicates the ability of a product to render free radicals harmless. However, the figures should be treated with caution, as they are purely laboratory values ​​that cannot necessarily be transferred to the human organism.

Signs of antioxidant deficiency

An insufficient supply of antioxidants can lead to various deficiency symptoms. For example, scurvy used to be a common disease due to vitamin C deficiency. A deficiency in vitamin B2 can manifest itself in anemia, skin problems and deteriorated eyesight - the latter is also typical of beta-carotene deficiency. Kwashiorkor's disease, which is particularly widespread among children in developing countries, is also attributed to a lack of antioxidant active ingredients.

Antioxidants as dietary supplements

Antioxidants can be found in many dietary supplements - but in isolated form. So far, no health benefits have been scientifically proven for them. Instead, researchers assume that the interaction of various phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals in natural foods creates a protective antioxidant network.

Over-supply of antioxidants

The antioxidant active ingredients in food supplements are sometimes very high-dose. However, this can e.g. B. with vitamin C and beta-carotene have the opposite, pro-oxidative effect. The evaluation of a large number of studies showed an increased risk of death when additionally taking vitamins A, E and beta-carotene. A connection between too many antioxidants and asthma, allergies and obesity is also being discussed. In terms of side effects, high intake of vitamin E and beta-carotene can cause constipation, diarrhea and flatulence, while vitamins A and C cause itching. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment suggests the following maximum intake levels for food supplements:

  • Vitamin C: 225 mg
  • Vitamin E: 15 mg
  • Zinc: 2.25 mg
  • Beta carotene: 2 mg
  • Selenium: 25-30 µg



Leonard Olberts | last changed on at 16:37