Difference Between Antioxidants and Antibodies

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Background concept word cloud illustration of antioxidants. Photo: Bigstock

Let’s start by stating that both antioxidants and antibodies are essential ingredients in keeping you healthy. But with that said, what exactly are the differences between the two?

Many people are not aware of what the differences are but they are quite substantial, but with that said, there are numerous similarities between the two as well.

They both protect your body from disease and illness and are necessary for maintaining good health, but that’s about where the similarities end. 

This article will explore some of the main points about what antioxidants and antibodies are, what role they play in your body, and how you can increase your intake of each to maintain optimal health.

What are Antioxidants?

Fresh Berries in a bowl
Blueberries have great antioxidant properties. Photo by Brandon Wilson on Unsplash

Enter Free Radicals – The Bad Guys

These are compounds found in foods that are designed to prevent oxidative damage. Oxidative damage is the process by which free radicals can run amok in your body and damage healthy cells.

What Do Free Radicals Do?

Free radicals are atoms that are missing an electron and by so doing, they look for other cells’ atoms to which they can attach so that they can steal that cell’s electron. This is a common occurrence in nature when atoms have missing electrons. They need to balance out their electron count. When they find a healthy cell to attach to, they will merge with it, subsequently changing the characteristics of that cell to the point where the healthy properties of those cells are diminished or non-existent.

When this happens and too many damaged cells exist, it could result in your body becoming a risk for such diseases as cancer and heart disease as well as many other illnesses. 

Seniors playing chess
Oxidative stress occurs during a normal day of activity, even when you are at rest. Photo by Vlad Sargu on Unsplash

These bad guys are created during our normal lifestyle, which includes simply breathing and eating. In other words, oxidation builds up during daily metabolism – the energy that you exert daily.

Antioxidants – The Good Guys

Antioxidants are the free radicals’ worst enemy. They are molecules that will donate an electron to the free radical making it useless in damaging other cells. 

Antioxidants are naturally found in fruits and vegetables. Some of the best foods for fighting off free radicals are berries, citrus fruits, dark leafy greens, broccoli, and tomatoes, but don’t stop there. Just about all fruits and vegetables will help build antioxidants.

They can also be found in smaller amounts in grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes. The best-known antioxidants in vitamins are C and E, and beta-carotene.

When you eat foods that contain antioxidants, they enter your bloodstream and then proceed to neutralize the free radicals before they cause damage. This means that antioxidants can prevent oxidative damage and this is why antioxidants are so beneficial to your health.

Fruits and vegetables are your best fight against oxidative stress.

What are Antibodies?

Microscopic view of the COVID virus
Microscopic view of the COVID virus spike protein. The spikes are what attack the healthy cells unless blocked by antibodies. Photo: Pixabay

Antibodies are quite different in properties from antioxidants. Antibodies Are proteins. Proteins are molecules. Antioxidants are not proteins. Antibodies contain chains of amino acids which are naturally produced by your immune system when an infection is detected. They can recognize and identify harmful agents like bacteria, viruses, and other foreign agents. That is why you hear so much about antibodies regarding Covid but you don’t hear anything about antioxidants.

Antibodies are created by your white blood cells, called B cells, and bind to the glycoproteins – the enemy of antibodies, similar to how free radicals are the enemy of antioxidants. Glycoproteins are the carbohydrate portion of proteins that are found in bacteria and viruses. Once the antibodies bind to these bad proteins, they neutralize and remove them from the body before they have a chance to cause harm.

For Covid, the antibodies block the virus cells, called spike proteins from attacking healthy cells.

Your body will create antibodies when foreign agents such as a virus are detected, but vaccines can be injected to further the creation of antibodies if needed.

The Difference in a Nutshell

Antioxidants and antibodies are both designed to protect against disease and boost immunity. However, there are differences between antioxidants and antibodies that are worth noting.

Antioxidants are vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that prevent oxidative damage. They don’t directly fight infections. They don’t recognize harmful bacteria and viruses.

Antioxidants also don’t circulate in the blood, as antibodies do. They are found in food, and can’t be detected in your blood. This means that antioxidants don’t boost immunity the way antibodies do.

What antioxidants do is help protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals? These attacked cells can add up causing your body to become at risk of several dangerous diseases.

Antibodies detect harmful bacteria and viruses. They are created by our white blood cells and circulate through our blood vessels and look for bad proteins from bacteria. Once found, they block these bad proteins from attacking healthy cells.

More About Antioxidants

Illustration of how Antioxidant Works Against Free Radicals

As we’ve already explored, antioxidants are compounds that prevent oxidative damage. They do this by neutralizing free radicals with their electron pairs before they can cause damage. This means that antioxidants protect healthy cells from damage caused by free radicals. They also protect a person’s DNA from being damaged.

In addition to providing general health benefits, antioxidants can also help boost your immune system. They can do this by preventing oxidative damage to healthy cells. This leaves your immune system with fewer cells to protect, which means it can put more energy into fighting against infections.

More About Antibodies

Antibodies are proteins that are created by the immune system to protect against disease. They can do this by binding to bacteria and viruses and neutralizing them. Antibodies are much more active than antioxidants when it comes to fighting infections. They circulate through the blood and can detect infections and bacteria in the blood. They then bind to the harmful pathogen and neutralize it.

Antibodies can recognize certain foreign bodies. This includes bacteria, viruses, toxins, and even allergens like pollen. Antibodies also boost immunity by preventing harmful bacteria and viruses from causing infections.

Below is a quick chart of the differences between antioxidants and antibodies.

What it vitaminsVitamins C & EProteins that contain amino acids
How it is createdFruits & veggiesIn white blood cells when an infection is detected within the body
What it fights freeFree radicals (atoms with missing electrons)Viruses
How to fightEat fruits & veggiesNormal activity within the body but can also be created through vaccines

Bottom Line

Person holding am apple
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Antioxidants and antibodies have similar functions but are very different compounds. While antioxidants don’t circulate in the blood and are designed to prevent oxidative damage, antibodies circulate in the blood and are designed to bind to and neutralize bacteria.

Antioxidants help prevent oxidative damage and can boost immunity, while antibodies do both of these things.

Antioxidants are beneficial for your health, but you can only reap their benefits if you consume enough of them. This can be challenging because many people don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. This is why it’s important to get your daily dose of antioxidants. Antioxidants can help you stay healthy, and make sure you don’t get sick.

What are Human Cells and What Do They Do?

Ilustration of Human Cells
Artist rendering of human cells. Bigstock.

If you don’t have cells in your body then you are dead.  Sorry for this unexpected scare but that is the plain and simple truth. However, not to worry.

You do have cells and so does every living thing on this planet! 

With that said, let’s talk about what makes cells turn us into living, breathing organisms.  Additionally, we will discuss how our cells can be altered when attacked by foreign entities (viruses) and subsequently cause them to act differently, resulting in a danger to the host (you). Let’s start from the beginning. 

What is a Cell?


Each cell has its own sets of components that contain the materials that sustain life and each cell has a specific job to do, which in turn, keeps us healthy. 
Cell illustrationThe structure of an animal cell. Eukaryotic cell structures show the nucleus, cytoplasm, Golgi apparatus, mitochondria, membrane, centrosome, and ribosome.

The two components that many of us are familiar with are the cell membrane, which is the separation between the interior and exterior of the cell, and the nucleus, which is referred to as the control room of the cell. You can learn more about the parts of a cell here.

Inside a cell, there are many different types of organelles (parts within the cell). For example, they have proteins that help you digest food, while others keep your heart pumping blood. Some cells produce new cells for growth and then some replace dead or injured cells. There are also cells designed to assist in muscle movement, respiration, and reproduction.

Types of Cells

Since cells are classified by their function, let’s take a look at what each category is designed to do.

Nerve Cells

active nerve cell in human neural system
Active nerve cells in the human neural system. Bigstock.








Nerve cells are the brain’s messengers that send signals to other parts of the body. They also form new thoughts in our brains and produce memories. Damaged nerve cells cause cell deterioration, which can result in a wide range of symptoms.

For example, you can be subjected to dementia, neurological issues, tremors, seizures, and to name a few. Sufficient nerve cell damage in any part of the body is one of the leading causes of disability in adults.

Proper exercise and eating brain foods such as fatty fish, salmon, trout, and sardines are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are very beneficial for brain growth and overall health. Eating the right foods helps reduce oxidation in the brain. By reducing oxidation (removing free radicals), you will have fewer damaged brain cells.

Blood cells

Red blood cells and White blood cells, leukocytes inside an artery, or vein. Arterial cross-section blood flow, 3D illustration. Bigstock.








Blood cells are part of the circulatory system and carry oxygen and nutrients, like sugars and proteins to different parts of your body. These cells fight off infection by destroying bacteria and viruses.

There are three types of blood cells: erythrocytes (red blood cells), leukocytes (white blood cells), and platelets.

Erythrocytes carry oxygen throughout the body, while leukocytes play an important role in fighting infection. Platelets help your blood clot to stop bleeding when you get injured or cut.

Muscle Cells

Muscle cells produce and store energy for the body. They’re called muscle cells because they provide muscle strength and power.

Cells that Produce New Cells

These are also called stem cells because they can change into other types of cells. One example is a skin stem cell, which can create red blood cells, white blood cells, and other types of skin cells.

Cells that Fight Infections and Regulate Metabolism

The immune system is made up of several different types of cells. White blood cells (leukocytes) are the most important type of cell involved in fighting infections (mutated cells that can cause damage).

The white blood cells live in a network that surrounds your body and then move to where they’re needed to fight invaders, but sometimes they need help, as you need to have a sufficient amount of antibodies to fight off infections. Viruses are, quite simply, infections in your body.

External Help to the Rescue

Vaccines such as the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine inject antibodies into your body to help fight off these mutations. In the case of the Covid virus spike proteins – are defective cells that try to attack your healthy cells and mutate them. As more and more healthy cells become defective, you may begin to feel ill. 
The other type of cell that fights infections is the neutrophil. Neutrophils are larger than white blood cells and can kill more invaders than antibody-producing cells can.

There are cells called a macrophage, which helps regulate metabolism by removing waste from your bloodstream. These cells also help produce antibodies to fight invaders, such as keratinocytes that protect us from injury.

Cell Summary

Cells are microscopic entities that are made up of proteins. They are the lifeline of all living organisms and are categorized by the functions they perform. There are many types of cells, grouped by their function. Muscle cells, blood cells, and nerve cells to name a few.

The COVID-19 virus contains a series of defective cells that contain spike proteins that attack healthy cells and cause them to mutate. This action diminishes the healthy cell’s function and subsequently causes your body’s health to deteriorate. 

To keep these healthy cells from being mutated, white blood cells send antibodies to block the viral cells from attacking them, but sometimes, more antibodies need to be injected into your body (via a vaccine) to fight off these mutations, such as for the flu or Covid.



What Are Antibodies?

Antibodies attacking contagious virus cells and pathogens as a 3D illustration.
Antibodies have a Y shape. This is a 3D concept of antibodies attacking virus cells and pathogens. Bigstock

Antibodies, (AKA Immunoglobulins) are the body’s natural defenders to protect you from infections. They are produced by your immune system to continuously look for foreign entities, called antigens, such as bacteria and viruses, and other dangerous invaders. If a foreign entity is found, antibodies are the first line of defense that aid in the destruction of these unwanted entities.

How Do Antibodies Operate in Your Immune System?

In the absence of an infection, antibodies are on standby. They are kept dormant by two kinds of cells: T cells and B cellsOnce a foreign invader is located, the T cells awake and open the gate for the antibodies to move out and take on the task of removing these cells that infected your body.

B cells are white blood cells that respond to foreign invaders by producing antibodies. The exact proportion of B cells and T cells depend on the cellular-level balance that’s developed in the body over the course of your lifetime. However, it’s generally accepted that the immune system does its best to make every effort to help eliminate these foreigners from your system.

So the B cells keep the existing antibodies in check and the T cells are ready to produce more of them should an invader penetrate your body.

How You Can Help Antibodies Fight Infections

Eating healthy foods is one of the best ways to maintain the antibodies in your system.

One of the best recommendations to boost your immunity are to keep up a  healthy diet.

Some antibiotics will kill germs, but in most cases, you can outsmart the invading bacteria by not giving them a chance in the first place. Stay up to date on the best foods to eat that help you maintain a good amount of antibodies, not to mention help fight off free radicals as well!

What Is an Immune Deficiency?

Baby in incubater
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

An immune deficiency is when your body is not producing enough antibodies or simply no longer has the ability to make them.

In extreme cases, these deficiencies are life-threatening. It may cause inflammation of the joints, blindness, chronic fatigue, pneumonia, increased risk of infection, or skin rashes. In milder cases, it may cause a cold, sore throat, fatigue, or skin rashes, among others.

Influenza and Rotavirus infections are common causes of immune deficiency. Most cases of the common cold, where influenza viruses are contained, can also be caused by an immune deficiency.

Why the Immune System Needs Help

When someone is sick, the immune system becomes overloaded. For example, someone who has the flu or a stomach virus will start producing a very large amount of antibodies to fight the virus, but the antibodies can be tricked into thinking that healthy cells are invaders.

For example, for people who have an autoimmune disease, such as diabetes, the antibodies will think that healthy cells around the pancreas are foreign and subsequently attack them by releasing proteins called autoantibodies. Autoimmune diseases can take many forms, such as multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, Lupis, and diabetes previously mentioned, as well as many more.

What Happens When You Have a Strong Immune System?

Having an adequate supply of antibodies has been proven to be very useful in combating various infections. Studies have found that people who lack antibodies are at higher risk of various diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, allergies, and other infections. It has also been found that people who have a strong immune system are more likely to live longer, have lower cholesterol, and be less likely to develop diabetes. However, it is important to note that you do not have to have antibodies to boost immunity. However, the more antibodies you have, the better off you are in fighting infection.

The human body produces antibodies to fight infection or foreign invaders. Antibodies help your body fight off bacterial or viral infections and when injected with a vaccine, it increases the production of the antibodies, enough supply to confront a possible infection and keep it at bay.  

Enter the COVID-19 Vaccine

Illustration of covid virus next to vaccine bottles
Photo by freepic.com/pikisuperstar

The COVID-19 vaccine has proven to be the ultimate killer of the coronavirus. In simple terms, it builds more antibodies in your body, in the form of T-cells that await the oncoming virus should you get infected. The result – you have enough antibody cells that will fight off the disease!