Antioxidant vitamins are found in vegetables, fruits, eggs, legumes and nuts. Vitamins A, C, and E can be destroyed by long-term storage or prolonged cooking The effects of cooking and food processing are complex, as these processes can also increase the bioavailability of antioxidants, such as some carotenoids in vegetables. Processed food contains fewer antioxidant vitamins than fresh and uncooked foods, as preparation exposes food to heat and oxygen.

Other antioxidants are not obtained from the diet, but instead are made in the body. For example, ubiquinol (coenzyme Q) is poorly absorbed from the gut and is made through the mevalonate pathway. Another example is glutathione, which is made from amino acids. As any glutathione in the gut is broken down to free cysteine, glycine and glutamic acid before being absorbed, even large oral intake has little effect on the concentration of glutathione in the body. Although large amounts of sulfur-containing amino acids such as acetylcysteine can increase glutathione, no evidence exists that eating high levels of these glutathione precursors is beneficial for healthy adults.