Antioxidants = anti-aging

Cellular aging actually begins before birth and is the one factor underlying the aging process of the entire body. The strength of the living system becomes progressively impaired by chemical reactions, not the passage of time.

by Amber Geller — 

What are antioxidants? You may have heard that they have something to do with blueberries. While that is true, there is much more to these powerful nutrients that ultimately guard your body against free radicals. Dr. Michael Cutler, M.D., director of anti-aging research at the National Institutes of Health, says, “The amount of antioxidants you maintain in your body is directly proportionate to how long you will live.” Powerful statement? Absolutely!

To that end, it is essential to understand why diet, proper supplementation and measuring your progress can benefit your health, and ultimately slow down your aging process.

What are antioxidants? What are free radicals? Why and how are they so damaging to our bodies? How can we fight the attack? And how do we know if we are doing enough?

Let us start with the basics. Aging can be described as the reduction of the number of healthy cells in the body. The most prominent factor in the aging process is the body’s depletion of its cell reserves due to the decreasing number of cells in each organ. Cellular aging actually begins before birth and is the one factor underlying the aging process of the entire body. The strength of the living system becomes progressively impaired by chemical reactions, not the passage of time. If we can control the rate of our toxic reactions, we can control the speed of aging.

Free radicals are highly reactive chemicals that can damage important cellular molecules such as DNA, lipids or other parts of the cell. Antioxidants protect your cells from the damage caused by free radicals, which may lead to cancer. Antioxidants interact with and stabilize free radicals and may prevent some of the damage free radicals can cause. Some commonly known free radicals are pollution, cigarette smoke, poor quality water, radiation, poor diet, sun exposure and stress. Free radical damage causes oxidation, which leads to cell damage that may cause allergies, arthritis, cancer, cataracts, heart disease and accelerated aging.

This brings us to the question, “How can I fight this attack?” Unfortunately, it is a perpetual battle. Again, it takes a good quality diet, proper supplementation and consistent monitoring.

Let us start with a good quality diet. Until recent discoveries, the US Food and Drug Administration had recommended five to eight servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and no supplementation. Are you aware that the new recommended daily allowance for fruits and vegetable is now nine to 13 per day? One serving is defined as: one medium-sized fruit or vegetable (i.e., apple, orange, banana), 1/2 cup of raw, cooked, canned or frozen fruit or vegetable, or 3/4 cup of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice.

What exactly is proper supplementation? It seems that everybody is offering “the best vitamin in the world.” The University of California-Berkeley Center for Community Wellness stated, “We have been reluctant to recommend supplementary vitamins for healthy people eating healthy diets. But, the accumulation of research in recent years has caused us to change our minds regarding the antioxidants, vitamins, particularly folic acid and vitamin B. The role these substances play in disease prevention is no longer a matter of dispute.”

Now, before you run out and stock your pantry with the best vitamin in the world, please use caution and do your own product research. Not all vitamins are created equal. The FDA does not regulate the contents of each product; therefore, choose wisely and perhaps ask a professional for guidance.

Lastly, monitor and measure your progress. Testing methods can determine whether your vitamins and diet are working. Invasive and non-invasive ways exist to measure your antioxidant levels. The best known invasive measurements are blood, urine and hair analysis. However, a new noninvasive measurement is available today, using breakthrough laser technology that is performed in less than two minutes and simply scans the palm of your hand.

These are the only ways to truly determine if your protocol is working for you. Ask your health care professional to measure your antioxidants today.

 

Amber Geller has a bachelor’s degree in science and nutrition and is a certified clinical nutritionist who specializes in anti-aging and antioxidant protocols. 480-247-2561, 602-697-2172 or GotGac@cox.net.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 25, Number 4, August/September 2006.

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