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Not all antioxidants are equal? What does that mean?

There are many antioxidants out there in the market. But did you know that not all antioxidants are equal? In fact, some are superior to others in that they are able to fight off not only free radicals, but also other sources of oxidative stress, such as transition metals like iron and copper. 

You may be wondering how iron and copper can cause oxidative stress when they are essential minerals and already exist in our bodies. 

To help you better understand, let’s take a look at what oxidative stress is, what it does to our skin, and how iron and copper causes oxidative stress to our skin. 

Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in our body. There may be a number of factors that contribute to this imbalance: lack of dietary antioxidants, increased production of free radicals, and increased production of iron and copper. What this means for our skin is that oxidative stress would contribute to skin cell damage. An example of skin oxidation is blackheads. If oil on the surface of our skin clogs the pores and reacts with oxygen, in other words gets “oxidized,” then it turns black and exerts itself on our skin as blackheads. But that isn’t the only concern. Oxidation causes skin cell damage, which could cause dull skin tone, loss of elasticity, and destruction of protein that are essential in supporting the skin. 

The lesson is that it is important to protect our skin from oxidation. Some sources that put our skin under oxidative stress are UV rays (click here to find out more) and, surprisingly, iron and copper. 

You may be thinking ‘how would iron and copper end up on my skin? It wouldn’t. So I don’t have to worry about skin damage caused by these metals.’ I thought the same. But there are a number of sources of iron and copper.

The first is from UVA and UVB rays. In our cells is a protein called ferritin, which stores iron in a non-toxic form and transports it where it is needed within our body. When our skin comes in contact with the UVA rays, which are known to cause skin cancer, iron in ferritin gets released, becoming a “free agent” iron, reacting with hydrogen peroxide in the oxygen to create a very reactive agent that damages our skin cells. Think of iron rusting when it is constantly exposed to the sun (image above). Research suggests that the iron content in the skin is 3 times higher in sun-exposed areas compared to non-exposed areas. 

And there’s UVB rays. UVB rays cause the formation of a very reactive oxidizing agent, called superoxide radical, which also leads to oxidative damage for the skin by attacking the protein mentioned above, ferritin. This means sun-exposed areas not only have more iron compared to non-exposed areas, but also much more superoxide radicals, which means that our skin would be susceptible to much more oxidative stress and skin cell damage!

The second source of iron on our skin is from sweat. If you exercise often and are prone to heavy sweating, or sweating in general, then the chances are more iron will be released, exposing your skin to additional oxidative stress. Imagine playing volleyball outside in the direct sunlight while you are sweating. You would be more than doubling your exposure to oxidative stress if you don’t have proper protection that protects your skin from UV rays, free radical damages, and iron-induced oxidative stress.

The last source is water. Although the tap water we use is treated to reduce corrosion, it still contains a low level of copper. And when your skin is exposed to oxygen and sun after washing, copper residue on the skin can leave your skin at risk of oxidative stress and cell damage.

Because iron and copper can end up on our skin so easily, we need an antioxidant that can protect our skin not only from free radicals but from the oxidative damage caused by these metals as well. That’s when EmblicaTM, the key ingredient used in DrLOUIE products, comes into play. 

EmblicaTM is an ingredient derived from a plant called Phyllanthus emblica fruit, also known as Indian Gooseberries. This fruit is edible and was used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine for over thousands of years for a wide variety of human ailments.

EmblicaTM is extracted from premium quality fruits using a water-based process to create 200x concentrated powder form of the fruits, resulting in a cascading form of various antioxidants, including Emblicanin A, Emblicanin B, and Emblicanin Oligomers.

What makes EmblicaTM such a powerful and superior antioxidant is that it not only protects the skin against free radicals, but also against oxidative damage caused by iron and copper as well. Unique to EmblicaTM is this ability to absorb these transition metals, such as iron and copper, so that they will not have a chance to react with oxygen, let alone be exposed to sunlight.

Another key difference of EmblicaTM compared to other forms of emblica fruit extracts and antioxidants is that it uses a multilevel cascade of antioxidant compounds mentioned above to protect our skin against free radical damages, which causes degradation of collagen among many others. This means that the antioxidant effect of EmblicaTM is long lasting and more stable. Simply put, a free radical trying to damage our skin cells will have to go through three levels of antioxidants, composed of Emblicanin A, Emblicanin B, and Emblicanin Oligomers, in order to actually reach our skin cells. 

Many of us understand that using or taking antioxidants is important for our health and skin. But choosing the one that could give you a broad-spectrum protection against skin oxidation is important. Products, such as our All-in-One Essence and Vitamin C Serum, that include a high level of EmblicaTM and other forms of antioxidants, Vitamin C or E, would provide powerful and effective protection against oxidative stress by the sun and oxygen. 

If you have any questions about this blog posting, please feel free to email me at cassidyk@drlouie.ca

* EmblicaTM is a patented ingredient.
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