During recent weeks we've looked at what you should expect from a good multi-nutritional formula. I know of no other supplement to have such profound health benefits. The best products use top quality United States-sourced ingredients and include these in meaningful amounts.
Antioxidants are compounds found in food, or made in the body, which have the ability to donate electrons to unbalanced free radicals. These have extra electrons they donate, thus preventing the chain of destruction caused by free radicals. Antioxidants protect the structures that make up cells from unwanted and premature damage.
As discussed in part 1 of this series on multivitamins, the most important antioxidants are those made in our body from trace minerals. Some vitamins are also antioxidants. The most obvious are water-soluble vitamin C and fat-soluble vitamins E and A. I prefer beta carotene than straight vitamin A as the body then changes this to vitamin A as needed.
The most potent food sourced antioxidants belong to a group of food chemicals called phytochemicals. These are biologically-active food compounds that often have significant antioxidant activity.
In terms of therapeutic qualities the grape seed-sourced oligomeric proanthocyanidins – known as OPC – have the most profound effect. There are many OPCs on the market. Many are extracted with solvents. My preferred one is the US-made, naturally extracted ActiVin.
A good multivitamin should have all of the main antioxidant groups and include the trace mineral especially selenium, zinc, iron, copper and manganese and the vitamin antioxidants as vitamins A from beta carotene and vitamins C and E. It should then have all the main phytochemical groups – especially OPC, bilberry, green tea, hesperidin, lutein and lycopene.