Body cells and tissues are threatened continuously bydamage caused by toxic free radicals and reactiveoxygen species (e.g., peroxides) which are producedduring normal oxygen metabolism, by other chemicalreactions and by toxic agents in the environment. Freeradicals, once formed, are capable of disruptingmetabolic activity and cell structure. When this occurs,additional free radicals are produced which, in turn,can result in more extensive damage to cells andtissues. The uncontrolled production of free radicals isthought to be a major contributing factor to manydegenerative pathologies.
The body's antioxidant defense system is more thanthe sum of its parts. That's because antioxidantsdepend on each other for ongoing effectiveness. Forexample, beta-carotene supports vitamin E, recognizedas the body's most valuable fat soluble antioxidant. Itprevents oxidation of unsaturated fatty acids byinactivating free radicals, thus stabilizing andprotecting cell membranes, e.g. in the lungs, eyes andarteries. Vitamin E can be regenerated by vitamin C.
Vitamin C is a potent water-soluble antioxidantnutrient, also protecting cells from oxygen free radicaldamage. It is essential for connective tissue and bonemetabolism, capillary health and immune function.Vitamin C works together with vitamin E. Whenvitamin E is inactivated by neutralizing free radicals,vitamin C regenerates it back to full activity. In thisprocess, however, vitamin C is oxidized and loses itsantioxidant activity. Glutathione reactivates vitamin C,while selenium and B-vitamins are needed to keepglutathione effective.
Glutathione is a naturally occurring tripeptide which isa major component of two anti-free radical enzymes -glutathione peroxidase and glutathione reductase. Assuch, glutathione offers one mechanism for scavengingtoxic free radicals and inhibiting peroxidation therebyslowing down free-radical catalyzed chain reactions.Glutathione can also reactivate (reduce) oxidizedvitamin C. Glutathione per se is well absorbed in theintestine and enters the blood and other extracellularcompartments where it exerts much of its beneficialantioxidant effects. However, it can not effectivelyenter the cell.
N-Acetylcysteine is a precursor for the sulfur aminoacid cysteine which is used by the cells to synthesizeglutathione. In contrast to glutathione,N-acetylcysteine is efficiently transported into the cellwhere it is readily converted to cysteine for glutathionesynthesis. Thus, supplementation with Nacetylcysteineis recognized as a safe, highly effectivemethod of increasing intracellular glutathione stores.Aside from providing cysteine as a glutathioneprecursor, N-acetylcysteine also appears to haveantioxidant properties as such and is a valuable sulfurdonor for various metabolic needs.
The bioflavonoids of Ultra Anti-Oxidant, i.e. rutin,hesperidin and Pycnogenol®, provide additionalantioxidant power, while zinc is needed to maintain theactivity of the antioxidant enzyme superoxidedismutase.