Nutritional News/FAQs

Below are some common questions about our Antioxidants. Click on each of the questions to
reveal the answer.

What are free radicals and antioxidants?

Free radicals are generated by exposure to harmful environmental factors, such as: smog, ozone, chemicals, drugs, smoking and radiation, as well as during normal physiological processes, especially in defense against microbes and other foreign substances.  Free radicals can damage DNA, proteins and lipids within cells, altering or inhibiting cellular function.  Dietary antioxidants, such as vitamins E and C, carotenoids and others, function to help control or eliminate free radicals by donating electrons, thus, maintaining cellular health by offsetting the damage they can potentially cause.  Antioxidants that are available through the diet are considered exogenous antioxidants and include: amino acids [N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), taurine and L-glutathione (tripeptide)], vitamins C and E, carotenoids (beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin), and minerals (selenium and zinc).  Antioxidants produced in the body are considered endogenous antioxidants and include: ubiquinone/ubiquinol (CoQ10), alpha lipoic acid and the master cellular defense enzyme, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and many more. However, many factors have been found to compromise the levels of endogenous antioxidants in the body making supplementation essential, such as the normal aging process, certain medications and oxidative stress.

Alpha lipoic acid, are there two kinds?

Alpha lipoic acid or thioctic acid is a vitamin-like, natural antioxidant that has gained tremendous attention from the scientific community for its involvement in energy production (formation of adenosine triphosphate – ATP) from the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Like most compounds in the body, lipoic acid has an asymmetrical carbon atom, which produces a mirror image and exists in nature as two forms (enantiomers). The forms are designated as either R- (“rectus” in Latin means right) or S- (“sinister”, which originally meant left in Latin), depending on their structural relationship to a right- or left-handed reference point. While both forms are found in biological systems, lipoic acid is represented as the R-form when active. Alpha Lipoic Acid is a 50/50 mixture of both the R- and S- forms of the molecule.  Bluebonnet provides Alpha Lipoic Acid and not R-Lipoic Acid due to issues with stability.

What is the difference between CoQ10--Ubiquinone and Ubiquinol?

Coenzyme Q10 is a lipid-soluble, vitamin-like substance that is present in nearly all human tissues and is essential for the cellular processes of energy production in the mitochondria. CoQ10 functions as an antioxidant in both the mitochondria and lipid membranes by scavenging free radicals either directly or in conjunction with tocopherol. While Ubiquinone is the fully oxidized and most common form sold commercially, once ingested and absorbed in the body—most of it is converted to its reduced, “active” antioxidant form called Ubiquinol.

In the plasma of healthy humans, more than 90% of CoQ10 exists in the reduced, “active” antioxidant form Ubiquinol and accounts for the largest percentage of CoQ10 found in the heart, intestines and liver. However, many factors have been found to compromise the levels of Ubiquinol in the body: the normal aging process, certain medications, oxidative stress, etc. For example, as the body ages, it not only produces less CoQ10, but it is less able to convert the common, non-active form of CoQ10 (Ubiquinone) to the more readily available, active form (Ubiquinol). Therefore, providing the active antioxidant form of CoQ10 (Ubiquinol) – especially to seniors – will ensure that they are getting a form that their bodies can immediately utilize.  Dietary sources high in CoQ10 include liver, beef, chicken and some oils.

What is the Source of Ubiquinol? Is it vegetarian?

Bluebonnet’s CellularActive™ CoQ10 Ubiquinol Softgels provide the active antioxidant form of CoQ10 (Ubiquinol) from the world’s leading supplier, Kaneka. Ubiquinol is sourced from yeast; however, it is surrounded in a base of non-GMO sunflower lecithin rather than soy lecithin and encapsulating them in vegetarian softgels. So if you want a soy-free and truly vegetarian form of the most readily available, “Active” antioxidant form of CoQ10 on the market, look to Bluebonnet’s CellularActive® CoQ10 Ubiquinol Vegetarian Softgels (Kaneka QH), the market leader in Ubiquinol and the recipient of the coveted Best of Supplements Award from Better Nutrition Magazine for heart health – because when it comes to protecting your cardiovascular health and/or enhancing your physical performance, you shouldn’t have to settle for second best.♦

What is the difference between enteric-coated SOD and the SOD being encased in gliadin (GliSODin)?

In general, enteric coating assists in the protection of a material from the proteolytic enzymes and hydrochloric acid (HCl) in the stomach. The enteric coating must breakdown in the small intestines in order to release the SOD for absorption. Unfortunately, the pancreas releases other protein digestive enzymes into the small intestines. Therefore, whatever SOD gets released will only be degraded at this level! Enteric coating will not prevent this problem. Enteric coating will not get the SOD through the intestinal tract and into the body. On the other hand, gliadin has been chosen as the unique carrier because it protects the SOD from both stomach acid and small intestine protein digestive enzymes. It helps get SOD through the cells in the intestine and into the body. Additionally, individuals who are sensitive to gliaden polymers (e.g., Celiac and Sprue) should not take this product.

What is the difference between grape seed extract and pine bark extract?

Pycnogenol® is a patented form of pine bark extract. Both are significant sources of flavonoids, specifically OPC's (oligomeric proanthocyanidins). OPC levels are different for each supplement. Additionally, grape seed extract contains gallic esters of proanthocyanidins and Pycnogenol® contains organic acids and catechins. These may have additional therapeutic benefits. Grape seeds are more readily available than pine bark, so grape seed extract is less expensive than Pycnogenol®.

Should I take lutein or zeaxanthin for my eye health?

As the years pass, the eye becomes more damaged from its constant interaction with light. Rod and cone photoreceptors that give a person optimal visual acuity and perceive color and light, start to die out and are not replaced. These rods and cones reside in the macula – the smallest, but very important, part of the eye that helps us to focus on the fine details that are seen directly in front of the eye.

Zeaxanthin and lutein accumulate in the macula to help filter out damaging blue light and sunlight. These carotenoids protect the macula and strengthen it. However, it should be known that zeaxanthin works best for central vision, while lutein is for peripheral vision; thus, a formulation that provides both is optimal.