by Dr. Alan Inglis

You've heard me talk about how free radicals can attack your vision and cause inflammation throughout your body. Well, those free radicals hurt more than just your heart and eyes. They can also do a lot of damage to your skin.

When that happens, it can cause wrinkling, age spots, roughness, and scaling. But it doesn't have to stay that way. In fact, it doesn't have to happen at all.

In one particular study, researchers investigated how free radical damage could be prevented or reversed in patients who took antioxidants. Antioxidants actually neutralize free radicals and reduce the oxidative damage they can cause.

In this study, the researchers monitored 39 volunteers with healthy, normal skin, dividing them into three groups. The first group received a supplement of antioxidant carotenoids, including lycopene (3 mg), lutein (3 mg), beta-carotene (4.8 mg), vitamin E (10 mg), and selenium (75 mcg) every day. Group two received a slightly different mixture of lycopene (6 mg), beta-carotene (4.8 mg), vitamin E (10 mg), and selenium (75 mcg). Group three received only a placebo.

By the end of the study, the groups taking the antioxidants had seen a significant improvement in their skin, including less roughness and scaling. The placebo group, on the other hand, didn't see any improvement.

If you want to go the whole-food route, you can load up on the antioxidants used in the study by eating tomatoes, peppers, carrots, broccoli, cabbage and kale.

Unfortunately, most of us just don't get enough antioxidants from food sources. So make sure you're taking a multivitamin with about 200 to 400 units of vitamin E with mixed tocopherols, 250 mg of vitamin C, and at least 5,000 units of beta- carotene with mixed carotenoids.