An Antioxidant Primer What You Should Know About Antioxidants

By Kulani Mahikoa
Executive Vice President
Kirkman Group, Inc.

What Are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants do just what their name suggests.  They are anti (opposed to) the oxidation process whereby oxygen produces free radicals or unstable molecules.

Why Are Antioxidants Important?
Antioxidants are the superheroes that can keep free radicals in check and this is important because of the widespread damage free radicals can cause to health.  Free radicals attack cells, mitochondria and even our genes. When this happens very serious health problems can occur. 

More About Free Radicals
Free radicals are formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules to create highly reactive molecules or groups of molecules that can cause chain reactions. Free radicals are not only made in the body but they exist in the air you breathe and the water you drink.

Molecules that lose an electron when it isn’t supposed to can turn into a free radical. An antioxidant molecule can step in to give the free radical an electron, effectively neutralizing it. 

Not all free radicals are bad. For example, free radicals protect our immune cells by killing off bacteria that try to infect it. It’s when free radicals outnumber antioxidants that damages can occur.  Examples in the environment are rusted metals or apples that turn brown.  In the body, excessive free radicals can lead to a state called oxidative stress during which important molecules in the body can become severely damaged and lead to chronic and severe health conditions. Research has also shown that certain antagonists such as cigarette smoke, stress, alcohol and environmental toxins can accelerate the damage. 

The Delicate Balance of Antioxidants and Free Radicals

There are several antioxidant systems in the body that help cope with the effectives of oxidative stress that results from regular metabolic processes. 

Sources of antioxidants that are not endogenous, or made by the body, are food and dietary supplements. Making sure that you supplement your diet with antioxidant rich foods or antioxidants in supplements is important because your body’s production of antioxidants is limited.

Types of Dietary Antioxidants

You can obtain antioxidant nutrients from vitamins and minerals in food and dietary supplements.

These sources can also be broadly categorized into two groups, water soluble and fat soluble.  Water soluble antioxidants perform their actions in the fluid inside and outside cells, whereas fat soluble antioxidants act primarily in cell membranes. The antioxidant vitamins A and E are fat soluble; vitamin C is water soluble. 

The following table is a summary of common antioxidant activity sources:

*Carotenoids are a class of plant chemicals often found in red, yellow or orange fruits and vegetables.

** Flavanoids are a large family of plant compounds with six major subclasses (noted above). 

Kirkman’s Antixoidants

Kirkman® offers a full range of antioxidants and special antioxidant blends. See our complete line of antioxidants at our website,, under Antioxidant Activity SupportMinerals and Vitamins

Our best sellers include:

Antioxidant Cell Protect – Hypoallergenic (#4510-060) 

Kirkman’s Antioxidant/Cell Protect is a comprehensive blend of nutrients with powerful antioxidant activity. This blend includes vitamin A from mixed carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium, in a matrix with four ingredients with powerful antioxidant activity: coenzyme Q-10, lycopene, pycnogenol, and resveratrol. Supplementing with this product along with your normal supplement regimen will provide excellent antioxidant activity and cell protection from free radicals.

Detox –Aid Advanced Formula (#0475-100) 

Kirkman’s Detox-Aid Advanced Formula offers nutrients that provide exceptional antioxidant activity as well as provide that “boost” to help the body detoxify properly.

Kirkman’s “advanced” formulation is a proprietary blend of ingredients that aid the body’s natural detoxification process. This updated version contains alpha-ketoglutaric acid as a replacement for n-acetyl cysteine (NAC), which may have side effects in a subset of individuals.

Reduced L-Glutathione, 100 mg –Hypoallergenic (#0076-100) and Reduced L-Glutathione Lotion (#0226-002)

Glutathione offers powerful antioxidant activity that works against the formation of free radicals.  Kirkman’s Reduced L-Glutathione features the reduced “L” form of glutathione, the most active form in the body.

Glutathione is a biologically active sulfur tripeptide that contains three amino acids: cysteine, glutamic acid and glycine. 

Microbiome Toxicity Control (#4538-120)

This product is a hypoallergenic blend of natural ingredients known to support the body’s detoxification pathways. These natural pathways are mechanisms for removing environmental contaminants, which can invade the body from toxins in the air, water, food or other environmental sources.

Microbiome Toxicity Control is hypoallergenic, free of casein, gluten and common allergens and contains the following:

  • vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium which enhance the body’s detoxification pathways;
  • taurine, a sulfur based amino acid with detoxifying properties;
  • curcumin (turmeric), a spice with clinical detoxification studies;
  • milk thistle, a flowering plant which detoxifies the body’s organs;
  • glutathione, the body’s most powerful immune system supporter;
  • N-acetyl cysteine, an ingredient known for strong antioxidant activity;
  • calcium D-glucarate, which acts in a similar manner as natural fruits and vegetables, also known to support detoxification.


1.      MedlinePlus Trusted Health Information for You

2.     Healthline,

3.     Science 2.0,

4.     Antioxidants Explained in Human Terms,

5.     Benefits of Antioxidants,

6.     Antioxidants Explained, Why These Compounds Are So Important,

About Kulani Mahikoa

Kulani Mahikoa is Vice President and Marketing Director of Kirkman Group, Inc. She has had successful careers both as a journalist and as an entrepreneur.
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