Ingredient Spotlight - Phenolic Antioxidants
Posted on 22 February 2021
If you’ve had a quick look at our Collagen Infusion label, you’ll see that we include an antioxidant complex that provides around 80mg of phenolic antioxidants per dose. In today’s ingredient spotlight, we will briefly explain what these are and why we think you need them!
What is an Antioxidant?
Let’s start by clarifying what an antioxidant is. To understand antioxidants, you first have to comprehend oxidation, the process that antioxidants inhibit. You’ve seen oxidation at work when an iron object becomes rusty, or oxidised. Your cells, proteins, lipids and DNA may also suffer damage when exposed to substances which cause oxidation known as reactive oxidation species (ROS or ‘free radicals’). Free radicals are formed as part of normal metabolic processes and through exposure to toxins such as alcohol, UV rays, environmental pollution. Free radicals are necessary in small amounts: for example, your immune system creates them to fight infections. However, an excess leads to the cellular damage that is thought to be a cause of disorders like heart disease and cancer.
Antioxidants are substances which provide protection against oxidation and therefore may protect us against diseases that are a result of oxidative reactions. Antioxidants work in several ways: they scavenge reactive oxygen and nitrogen free radicals (essentially the oxidant reacts with the antioxidant instead of with your body), they neutralize damaging peroxides to inert products and they chelate heavy metals so they can be safely excreted from the body.
You’ve probably heard of antioxidant vitamins and minerals: vitamins A, C and E and the mineral selenium are well known for this function. These are very important antioxidants, but not all antioxidants are vitamins or minerals. Another class of important antioxidants are the phenolic compounds or phenols/polyphenols which are produced by plants.
The Benefits of Phenolics
The term ‘phenolic’ refers to molecular compounds that contain at least one ring shaped structure. Phenolic compounds are phenomenal antioxidants as they donate hydrogen atoms with ease (this is how they react with oxidants) and support unpaired electrons, thereby stabilizing a wide range of free radicals. It’s also worth knowing that outside of their job as antioxidants, phenolics also show anti-inflammatory, antiallergenic, anti-cancer and liver health benefits. How good is that? Well known phenolics include flavonoids, flavanones, flavones, anthocyanins, catechins, anthocyanins, resveratrol, gallic acid, hydroxycinnamates and stilbene but there are also others. They are often found in high levels in traditional medicine products and ‘health boosters’ such as green tea. Phenolic compounds are ubiquitous to many common foods of plant origin such as fruits, vegetables, cereals, nuts, wine, tea and cocoa, and are thought to be responsible for the heart protective effect of red wine. As an example of how they work, the phenolics in red wine may help prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol thereby reducing the chance of developing artherosclerosis. Most Western populations consume 200-450mg of phenolics daily, mostly from fruit and vegetables, although from a health epidemiology perspective, this is considered quite low with some studies suggesting intakes of around 2000mg are more ideal.
When we decided to add antioxidants to Collagen Infusion we sourced a New Zealand made product, that was high plant phenolics. Made from grapes, blackcurrants and kiwifruit, our antioxidant blend is abundant in a range of phenolics, including flavanols, anthocyanins, resveratrol, epicatechin, and procyanidins and others. From a skin-health perspective, these help your body make the most of the collagen by providing a little extra antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection. Combine our products with a healthy, fruit and vegetable rich diet and you are well on your way to a glow-up from within!
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