Oxidative stress has been recognized as a contributing factor in fatigue, memory loss, muscle or joint pain, susceptibility to infections, and aging. Oxidative stress is caused by the reactive oxygen species (ROS), otherwise known as free radicals and peroxides.
Most reactive oxygen species come as by-products of normal and essential metabolic reactions, such as energy generated during daily exercise or the detoxification reactions in the liver. Other sources include diet, environmental pollutants such as herbicides and pesticides, stress and the elevated levels of cortisol, inflammation, bacterial, fungal or viral infections. Certain medications and treatments can also produce free radicals.
Over time, chronic oxidative stress can leave cells and tissues damaged, including DNA. Some scientists concluded that “oxidative stress is the underpinning of many chronic diseases.”
We see oxidative stress when we cut open an apple, then let it sit on the counter…that rusting mechanism of turning an apple brown is the process caused by free radicals.
What is an antioxidant?
Oxidation is what produces free radicals. Antioxidants are molecules that inhibit the oxidation of other molecules. Antioxidants repair damaged molecules and protect DNA.
There are two basic forms of antioxidants: water soluble, such as vitamin C, glutathione, alpha lipoic acid, and resveratrol; or lipid soluble, such as vitamin E, vitamin A, beta carotene, polyphenols like CoQ10, and astaxanthin.
The body produces its own army of defense against the free radicals. These warriors include: glutathione, alpha-Lipoic Acid, SOD, Catalase, and CoQ10. Horses and dogs produce their own vitamin C.
Antioxidants that are not produced in the body include: beta carotene, bioflavonoids, flavonols, astaxanthin, resveratrol, selenium, and vitamin E.
My favorite antioxidants:
Vitamin E: Horses can get vitamin E from fresh grass, yet very little from hay. Food sources include: almonds, sunflower seeds, rice bran, cold pressed wheat germ oil, rice bran oil and sunflower oil. The advantage of food-sourced vitamin E is that it contains the full spectrum of the Vitamin E tocopherol family, not just the isolated Alpha Tocopherol used in almost all supplements and feeds. Rice bran also provides another portion of the vitamin E family: the tocotrienols.
Bioflavonoids: apples, parsley, oranges, blueberries, bananas, strawberries, almonds, cabbage, cantaloupe, watermelon. That is why nearly all Biostar formulas include one or more bioflavonoid-rich fruits or vegetables.
Beta carotene: carrots, kale, cantaloupe, papaya, mango, winter squash. Dogs can get additional beta carotene from sweet potatoes.
Astaxanthin: This is a super antioxidant from marine microalgae (Haematococcus pluvialis) and is classified as a carotenoid. Salmon, as well as other marine animals, eat the microalgae, which gives them their red color. Scientists have attributed the strength and endurance in salmon to the microalgae. Research on Astaxanthin’s ability to scavenge free radicals showed that it was 65 times more powerful than vitamin C, and 14 times more powerful than vitamin E. Studies in Japan showed that athletes who took astaxanthin experienced up to a 29% decrease in lactic acid build up (Sawaki, 2002).
A study by Washington State University, published 2013 (American Society of Animal Science) found that “astaxanthin supplementation reduced oxidative and inflammatory damage and consequently enhanced mitochondrial function in healthy young and geriatric dogs. In conclusion, astaxanthin is a naturally occurring pigment that can potentially be used to alleviate age-related oxidative and inflammatory damage and enhance mitochondrial function.”
Glutathione: is an intercellular substance found in every cell in the body. It is made from three sulfur-containing amino acids: cysteine, glutamic acid and glycine. Glutathione production can be disrupted by poor diet, stress, medications, infections, and environmental toxins. Non-food-based glutathione supplements have repeatedly performed poorly in absorption studies.
Sulfur rich foods such as kale, and cabbage provide the body with the three proteins it needs to make glutathione. Un-denatured whey protein provides glutathione precursors such as active peptides and the covalent bonded cysteine.
The main bioactive components of mushrooms are phenolic compounds including the flavonoids, ergothioneine, and carotenoids. There has been a lot of research in the last 15 years on mushrooms, showing that medicinal mushrooms in particular have a higher antioxidant capacity than tomatoes, pumpkins or carrots.
Zinc, copper, and selenium are important minerals involved in protection against oxidative stress in cells.
Keeping a perspective:
When the body is in balance, the free radicals are restrained from causing havoc by the body’s own antioxidants, and from the antioxidants in the diet. Several studies from around the world have indicated that high doses of a single antioxidant like vitamin C or vitamin E can actually increase mortality. These studies highlight why taking isolated antioxidants that are not in their whole food matrix may cause more health problems in the long run.
Our antioxidants are always in their whole food form, never isolated, never made in laboratory. Our antioxidants are never in mega potency because mega potency doesn’t exist in Nature.
BioStar supplements for horses containing antioxidant foods include:
Optimum EQ, Optimum EQ Senior, Optimum JS, Optimum Senior JS, Locomotion EQ, Tri Dosha EQ, Comfort Zone Ultra EQ, Cool Star EQ, Equilibrium EQ, Flex-Well EQ, Furnace EQ, Ligatend EQ, Rebound EQ, Thermal EQ, True Balance EQ, Tum Ease EQ.
BioStar supplements for dogs containing antioxidant foods include:
Optimum K9, Optimum K9 Senior, Asta-Zan 14, Comfort Zone Ultra K9, Flex-Well K9, Buckaroo’s Stew Cooling, Buckaroo’s Stew Warming, and Terra Biota K9.
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