I am in danger of getting antioxidant fatigue. There seems to be a new super-duper-better-than-anything-that-has-come-before-it product every week. Still, the latest to reach my radar did pique my interest: ferulic acid.
Ferulic acid is found in the cell walls of plants such as wheat, rice, peanuts, oranges and apples. It seems to be particularly abundant in coffee and amaranth (the name comes from the Greek for "the one that does not wither," presumably as a result of all the ferulic acid). It is an antioxidant that can seek and destroy several different types of free radical - ‘superoxide’, ‘hydroxyl radical’, and ‘nitric oxide’ - according to a 2002 Japanese study.
A 2004 Italian study concluded that ferulic acid is a more powerful antioxidant than alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E), beta-carotene, and ascorbic acid (vitamic C). Meanwhile, Duke University researchers blended it with vitamin C and E and proclaimed it a "potent ubiquitous plant anti-oxidant". In fact, it was discovered to act synergistically with other antioxidants and, in this case, rendered the vitamins C and E more powerful. The Duke Study found it particularly good for preventing sun damage, and studies elsewhere have demonstrated that exposure to ultraviolet light actually increases the antioxidant power of ferulic acid.
Naturally this super antioxidant does more than prevent wrinkles. It fights cancer, is helpful for diabetics and even reduces hot flashes.
Products with ferulic acid aren't easy to come by. There is a DIY option for around $9. You can buy a small tube of ferulic acid from Skin Actives and add it other potions. But be careful with what you mix it or you could find yourself making an appearance in court. The topical combination of vitamin C (15%), vitamin E (1%) and ferulic acid (0.5%) has been patented by SkinCeuticals. They sell the formula, called CE Ferulic, for $139.