Q & A Library

Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Calculating Antioxidants?

Exactly how many antioxidants should be consumed daily to get the full benefit of them? Is it based on age, weight, height, etc? If so, how do I figure out how much I need?

Answer (Published 11/11/2014)

Originally published March 24, 2009. Updated November 11, 2014.

There is no simple formula you can use to individualize the amount of supplemental antioxidants you need based on such considerations as age, weight, height or other characteristics. However, many good quality multivitamin products provide adequate antioxidants for most people. Here are my general recommendations:

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Supplements & Herbs - If you are interested in supplementing your diet, and want to take the mystery out of choosing vitamins, try Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor. Visit today for your free, personalized Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor Recommendation.
  • Vitamin C: 250 mg daily. This amount is more than adequate to saturate the body's tissues and provide protection against cancer, heart disease and other chronic illnesses. You can take up to 1,000 mg extra C a day if you have additional oxidative stress in your life, such as an illness, or if you are exposed to a lot of pollution or secondhand smoke.
  • Vitamin E: 400 IUs a day of mixed natural tocopherols, or at least 80 mg of mixed tocopherol and tocotrienols. Always choose natural vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol with mixed tocopherols) and avoid the synthetic form (dl-alpha-tocopherol). The best brands will also include mixed tocotrienols, the other components of natural vitamin E. I take vitamin E at lunch or dinner.
  • Selenium: 80-200 micrograms (mcg) a day. This trace mineral has antioxidant and anticancer properties. Because selenium and vitamin E facilitate each other's absorption, I recommend taking them together. Doses above 400 mcg of selenium a day may not be healthy.
  • Vitamin A or mixed carotenes: 15,000 IUs a day. Use natural forms of mixed carotenoids such as alpha- and gamma-carotene along with beta-carotene, which are easily found in health food stores. Read the label to make sure products contain lycopene, the red pigment in tomatoes that helps prevent prostate cancer, and lutein, which protects against cataracts and macular degeneration. Better brands will include other important carotenoids such as astaxanthin, zeaxanthin, phytoene and phytofluene.

Always take supplements with meals to enhance absorption and reduce the risk of stomach upset. Just bear in mind that the antioxidant supplements I recommend are your backstops and insurance against falling short of these same nutrients in your daily diet, and are not a substitute for good nutrition. Be sure to eat a variety of organic fruits and vegetables across the color spectrum to get a full complement of antioxidants. As you get older, if you are exposed to toxins or if your diet isn't as good as it should be, strive to get additional antioxidants from foods. To learn more about your specific needs, or if you have a new health concern, weight change or some other variation in your physical status, consult my Vitamin Advisor.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being in just eight weeks! Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Food Pyramid

Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you and their corresponding answers from Dr. Weil.

Copyright © 2015 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here