CFS Nutrition Logo  Antioxidants Against Aging


Glutathione Molecule
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The free radical theory of aging has received a much broader acceptance as the years have gone by. More and more health science researchers have concluded that free radical caused oxidation is a central process of aging, and at the heart of age related deterioration. It has been said that aging is in fact a process of oxidizing or "rusting".

Free radicals are created as a side effect of natural metabolism and energy production. They are a side effect, and sometimes the key feature of drugs, poisons, and pollutants.

A free radical is an atom or compound missing one or more electrons, and hungry to replace them. These electron seeking compounds will pull an electron from the first place they can free one. Since chemical cohesive bonds involve multiple atoms sharing electrons to form a molecule, the unwilling loss of electrons destroys chemical bonds.

Taken from proteins, electron loss can cause protein cross linking, a key feature of stiffening tissues, disable hormones and enzymes, and damage cell structures. Taken from DNA, genetic defects can occur, which can cause defective compounds to be metabolized, and can lead to cancer.

Free radicals can cause chain reactions that have compound after compound stealing electrons, until finally a compound that can afford to lose electrons, and not grow excessively hungry to steal more, ends the chain reaction. A free radical chain reaction can end with molecular damage, or with an antioxidant quench.

Antioxidants break the free radical chain reaction by sacrificing electrons, and then humbly existing without stealing more. The body naturally circulates many nutrients for their antioxidant properties, and creates antioxidant enzymes just for the purpose of controlling free radicals and their chain reactions.

Vitamin C and vitamin E are the two most prevalent, and well studied antioxidant nutrients. The carotenes, lipoic acid, and numerous phyto-chemicals naturally available in the plants we eat, all act as antioxidants.

Catalase which contains iron; super oxide dismutase enzymes which use copper, zinc, and manganese; and glutathione enzymes, some of which use selenium, all serve the purpose of terminating free radical reactions in various components of the bodys cellular structures.

Without adequate levels of micronutrients, optimal levels of antioxidation activity cannot be achieved to provide the body's best resistance to age related deterioration.

Richard A. Passwater, Ph.D. says in his book The Antioxidants (available from us):

"When we are healthy, free radical and reactive oxygen species are balanced by our antioxidant defense system, which consists of a few enzymes and several nutrients. Unfortunately, free radical chain reactions take place in our body countless times a day. To make matters worse, there are other sources of free radicals besides those generated during oxygen metabolism. Cigarette smoke, pollutants, sunlight, radiation and even emotional stress can cause free radicals and free radical chain reactions."

Many people have been taught over the years to take megadoses of vitamin C. Much of this has been the result of the work of Dr. Linus Pauling, and the observation that humans, monkeys, and guinea pigs are among the few mammals that don't metabolize their own vitamin C from glucose.

The megadose theory comes from tracking the production of vitamin C in response to stress and infection in animals that do produce their own vitamin C. It has been postulated that an accident of evolution left humans without this ability to self manufacture vitamin C. There is no debate about the essential nature of this vitamin, scurvy is a well known deficiency disease. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant, but not the only one.

Humans have a wealth of antioxidant nutrients provided to them in plant and animal foods, and we have antioxidant enzymes not found in all of the animal kingdom. Humans have one of the longest natural life spans of higher order creatures.

In a recent article of the journal Nature Genetics, it was reported that fruit flies implanted with the human gene for super oxide dismutase lived 40% longer than controls that couldn't produce the enzyme.

Our natural antioxidant processes compensate for one another, covering up momentary deficiencies by their overlap. Perhaps our very best result comes from maintaining all of our antioxidation resources to work towards our good health.

Dr. Passwater goes on to say the following about antioxidants in his book The Antioxidants :

"Combinations of antioxidants are like a balanced symphony working together. A symphony orchestra produces sounds so much more harmonious than merely having 20 drums playing. It is not the quantity, but the blend. The same is true with antioxidant nutrients: you get better results with moderate amounts of a full complement than you get with using very large amounts of just one nutrient... In general, the different reducing agents in the body "talk to one another" freely, and thus, it is probably important that all of our pools of reducing agents be maintained. For this reason, most of us in the field recommend that a person take a variety of antioxidants (a "cocktail"), not just a single substance."

Dr. Passwater concludes:

"The importance of synergism is that the antioxidant nutrients each contribute to the total protection. They work together in the antioxidant cycle and reach all body compartments--fat and water-based, blood and internal cell. They protect against all types of free radicals and reactive oxygen species. No one antioxidant can do all of this."

Resist age related deterioration with a complete set of antioxidants and micronutrients that form antioxidant enzymes. Our Defense & Replenish nutrition program makes "the cocktail" easy to manage with presorted daily packets. This combination fortifies your diet, your natural resistance to aging, and your immune system with essential trace minerals and amino acids that form antioxidant enzymes, including Glutathione, vitamin C, natural vitamin E, and B-vitamins.


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