What antioxidant supplements should I take daily?

Christopher C. Bell, MD
Sports Medicine
There have been no published research studies that show any benefit from taking antioxidant supplements. There is no proof that taking certain supplements prevents any diseases. There are a ton of products out there that claim benefit, but none have been proven. There is a theoretical benefit, since each day we do produce oxidized species that have been shown in laboratory studies to be harmful to tissues. However, our bodies have evolved natural defenses against this by creating antioxidants or ingesting them in our foods. The difference between eating foods rich in antioxidants and taking antioxidant supplements is that in the supplements, there are only a limited number of antioxidants, whereas in foods there are thousands of different molecules and they all interact in myriad ways. It is a complicated process that you just can't reproduce with putting a few products in a pill.

In addition, this has been studied fairly well in those involved in endurance sports since it has been shown that endurance athletes produce more oxidized species than sedentary folks. However, antioxidant supplements were actually shown to be somewhat harmful. The same goes for vitamin E. For a long time cardiologists and primary care physicians prescribed vitamin E supplements in those with heart disease because of the theoretical benefit of the antioxidant. It wasn't until someone actually did a research study to look at the potential benefit of vitamin E that they discovered that the people who took the vitamin E actually were worse off than those who didn't.

So, make sure you eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, berries, nuts, and whole grains. You will get all the antioxidants you need.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Dr. Weil and Dr. Oz talk reveal the "antioxidant cocktail" -- the five supplements that should be taken daily. Find out what the herbs are in this video.
 

Continue Learning about Antioxidants

Antioxidants

Antioxidants

Antioxidants help your body repair cells damaged by free radicals. The most common antioxidants are beta-carotene, lycopene and vitamins A, C and E. Antioxidants can also be found in fruits, vegetables and teas. Most experts belie...

ve that getting antioxidants from food is the most healthful way to obtain them but they may also be taken as supplements.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.