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Antioxidants are substances that are naturally present in fruit and vegetables.

They protect the body against harmful molecules (free radicals), which can be produced during all kinds of processes. Antioxidants can neutralise free radicals to prevent or reduce damage to DNA and other proteins. Well-known antioxidants in food include vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene (pro-vitamin A), selenium and resveratrol.

Antioxidants are also produced industrially so they can be added to products as a preservative or taken in the form of supplements.

Antioxidants and your health

There are several health effects associated with antioxidants.

Antioxidants reduce the risk of macular degeneration

Research has demonstrated that certain antioxidants and carotenoids (in particular lutein and zeaxanthin) can inhibit the development and progression of macular degeneration. Lutein and zeaxanthin are mainly found in the macula and act as an antioxidant there. They are also important for good eyesight. You can obtain these antioxidants by eating sufficient fruit and vegetables. Green vegetables such as spinach, endives, kale and broccoli are particularly rich in lutein and zeaxanthin.

A recently published study demonstrated that the progression of macular degeneration can be inhibited by a combination supplement containing vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, zeaxanthin, copper, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids. There are also indications that these micronutrients reduce the risk of macular degeneration.

Please note: do not simply take multivitamins or supplements, assuming that this will reduce your risk of macular degeneration. In high concentrations some micronutrients can actually have an adverse effect or are linked to other risks. Always ask an ophthalmologist first whether it may make sense to take supplements.

iGene Passport

iGene offers you an insight into your personal risks of developing conditions and tells you whether antioxidants may be particularly important for you to help prevent certain conditions. In addition, an iGene Passport provides you with information on what else you can do to reduce any risks. Here we focus on behaviour that will help you maximise the benefits to your health. In the publication below you can read more about what iGene can do for you.

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