Aging and Antioxidants

by Steven Carney on October 10, 2013

This post is #94 on the site (about aging and antioxidants). The site is a collection of breakthrough articles and resources at your fingertips! Feel free to browse the info here. Whether you have health, life or prosperity and business challenges, I can help you have the life you desire! I offer a unique mix of coaching, training and experience based on multiple certifications and overcoming my own life challenges.

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I’m sure you have heard of aging and antioxidants. You may wonder how they are connected and why antioxidants are important for slower aging, keeping you young, vibrant and healthy.

Antioxidants are substances (vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, etc.) that can donate an extra oxygen molecule to an unstable (unpaired) molecule in the body called a free radical. Research indicates that free radicals damage cells, mitochondria and DNA throughout the body. Free radicals, also called Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) are created by various processes like breathing and metabolism. We generate many ROS all the time, many millions daily!

If you have seen rusted metal, smelled/tasted rancid oil, or had an apple turn brown after it’s cut and exposed to air, those are examples of oxidation and a type of free radical activity. And a similar process of “rusting” or cellular degradation can take place throughout the body.

Because ROS and free radicals can damage cells and DNA, they contribute to aging (more wrinkles, gray hair), degeneration, and a host of chronic health conditions and diseases:

  • Inflammation
  • Asthma
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Brain/memory
  • Mood issues
  • And more

Many types and varieties

Your body needs both fat and water-soluble antioxidants so that all your tissues can be protected from premature aging and free-radical damage. And indeed, antioxidants do come in both forms! Many occur in veggies, fruits, nuts/seeds, herbs, spices, teas, etc. We can also make some of our own, if our diet and lifestyle is healthy enough. I’ll cover those later in this post.

Some common vitamin and mineral antioxidants from foods and supplements are:

  • Vitamin A (and beta carotene, its precursor)
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K2
  • Selenium
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Zinc

Some additional (and important) antioxidants with their common sources are:

  • Flavanoids (fruits, berries, green and red veggies, nuts, herbs)
  • Catechins (from teas, especially green and white, chocolate)
  • Polyphenols (fruits, veggies, beans, olives, herbs, coffee, tea, etc.)
  • Lycopene (tomatoes, watermelon, red/pink veggies, fruits)
  • Lutein, zeaxanthin, astaxanthin (also carotenoids, many fruits, veggies, fish, seafood)
  • Anthocyanins (fruits and veggies, especially blue, red and purple colors)
  • ALA (Alpha-Lipoic acid), mostly as supplement, can help with blood sugar and many antioxidant activities (see links below for details)

Fat and water soluble

Most antioxidants are either fat or water-soluble but some are both, like ALA. The fat soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A/beta carotene, E, K2, plus lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin and astaxanthin are all from the carotenoid family, plus ALA (functions both in fatty tissues and water so it can work in all tissues).

Water soluble antioxidants are vitamins like vitamin B and C, minerals like selenium, iron, copper, and flavanoids and polyphenols all work with more water-based cells/tissues. Overall, you can see that having enough antioxidants is critical for slower aging and keeping you healthy and vibrant!

We make our own too!

Our bodies can make several important antioxidants if we have a healthy diet and lifestyle. Below I list 4 key ones, but there are a few more.

1. Glutathione

Glutathione is a major antioxidant and anti-aging element, sometimes called a master antioxidant. The production of glutathione is dependent on a healthy lifestyle, one which provides enough veggies, fruits, vitamins, minerals and protein, plus exercise. With a healthy lifestyle, you can help keep your glutathione levels high and help keep free radicals in check.

Glutathione is also important because it helps to recycle other antioxidants, such as vitamin C and E. Glutathione also supports good detox so your organs and tissues can function at peak levels, keeping you young!

However, if you eat the typical SAD (Standard American Diet), high in refined carbs/veggie oils, sugars, junk foods, with high stress, smoking, medications, and chemical exposures, you will have lower levels of glutathione, more free radicals, higher inflammation and faster aging.

Dr. Mark Hyman, a Functional Medicine specialist, said this about glutathione and chronic health conditions (see link below):

In treating chronically ill patients with Functional Medicine for more than 10 years, I have discovered that glutathione deficiency is found in nearly all very ill patients. These include people with chronic fatigue syndrome, heart disease, cancer, chronic infections, autoimmune disease, diabetes, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, asthma, kidney problems, liver disease and more.

2. SOD

SOD (superoxide dismutase) is another antioxidant we make ourselves if you have the right dietary intake and healthy lifestyle. Foods such as melons, veggies (especially cruciferous varieties like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage), and soy can help its creation. You also need sufficient minerals like copper, zinc and manganese to keep levels up. So again, a good anti-aging strategy is to build the right nutrition and lifestyle so all these metabolic and health factors are working for you, not against you!

What’s also interesting is that SOD can be helped and increased by glutathione, but again, you need adequate amounts of vitamins A/beta carotene, C and E to help produce and maintain it.

3. Catalase

Catalase is another key antioxidant which we produce ourselves and which is critical for minimizing hydrogen peroxide and graying hair. Like other antioxidants, catalase needs sufficient vitamins, such vitamin A, B, C and D, plus minerals like zinc, iron, copper magnesium, etc. Other healthy dietary intakes like those mentioned above are also helpful. It also means avoiding foods with sugars, refined carbs and processed foods. Things like stress, smoking, medications and inactivity also play a role in lowering catalase levels. As always, your lifestyle matters!

4. Co-Q10

Co-Q10 is another antioxidant which we produce mainly in the liver and which helps to power our mitochondria, the small energy factories in most cells. It’s thought that Co-Q10 decreases with age, but as I often say, it’s not age specifically but lifestyle that has the biggest impact on those supposed declines. Co-Q10 also helps your heart stay strong and vital, along with your muscles, brain and other tissues. Like the other antioxidants, it can help keep you young and vital!

Q10 is also important for controlling lipid oxidation and preventing what’s called ox LDL (oxidized LDL), which is more atherosclerotic and can cause heart disease.

Statin drugs interfere with cholesterol production in the liver, and also cuts Co-Q10 production! In fact, using statins can decrease your Q10 levels significantly! Lower Q10 means less energy and strength for the heart, which uses a significant amount of Q10, leading to a weakening of the heart muscle.

Q10 also help to recycle other antioxidants like vitamin C and E, so anything which causes production or levels to drop poses a serious health and aging problem! Q10 is also available as a supplement, for those that prefer to keep their levels at a more youthful level.

It all works together

Notice how antioxidants work together in groups to help each other, recycle and boost effectiveness! This is a common theme in nutrition, lifestyle and anti-aging vitality.

Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and food work together to create the most effective nourishment! And it’s another reason why treating individual vitamins, minerals or antioxidants as drugs, testing them against a placebo, will usually fail. Micronutrients and antioxidants do not work individually like drugs, they work together as a team! You need them in groups and in a good balance for your individual needs!

If you would like some help in getting a nutrition overview with some recommendations, drop me a line at: steve@endsicknessnow.com I can do an assessment and give you some recommendations for a very affordable fee!

You’ll be on your way to a healthier, more youthful you in a few days, with results that will last a lifetime! I guarantee improvement with every client!

Helpful links:

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-oxidation.htm

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/how-antioxidants-work1

http://www.news-medical.net/health/What-are-Antioxidants.aspx

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/antioxidants-how-they-work.html

http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/4-diet-tips-live-100-140700721.html

http://www.health24.com/Diet-and-nutrition/Vitamins-minerals-and-supplements/Free-radicals-and-chronic-disease-20120721

http://orgasmicreactionsaroundchocolate.com/how-many-antioxidants-or-orac-do-we-need-daily/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/30858-list-antioxidant-vitamins/

http://www.falconblanco.com/health/supplements/antioxidant.htm

http://nutristart.com/more-benefits-of-vitamin-k2-part-2/

http://www.whole-food-supplements-guide.com/sources-of-antioxidants.html

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/how-do-free-radicals-affect-the-body.html

http://www.livestrong.com/article/27857-list-antioxidant-foods/

http://www.ehow.com/about_5597627_sources-polyphenols.html

http://www.livestrong.com/article/74380-foods-high-polyphenols/

http://shine.yahoo.com/shine-food/eat-live-longer-says-study-180700322.html

http://www.livestrong.com/article/73159-list-foods-flavonoids/

http://altmedicine.about.com/od/alphalipoicacid/a/alphalipoicacid.htm

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/glutathione-the-mother-of_b_530494.html

http://www.livestrong.com/article/32331-foods-increase-glutathione-levels/

http://www.ehow.com/how_6012533_increase-glutathione-naturally.html

http://www.livestrong.com/article/535782-food-sources-of-superoxide-dismutase/#!

http://www.endsicknessnow.com/going-gray

http://www.livestrong.com/article/536883-what-foods-contain-the-catalase-enzyme/

http://www.squidoo.com/grey-gray-hair-solutionyou-can-get-rid-of-grey-gray-hair

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/what-does-coenzyme-q10-do-for-the-body.html

http://www.endsicknessnow.com/vitamins-for-health

http://www.endsicknessnow.com/magic-minerals-part-1

http://www.endsicknessnow.com/magic-minerals-part-2

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/12/12/coq10-fights-obesity.aspx

I found this study about antioxidants and heart disease after I put up post and I decided to add:

http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/5/8/2969

This new 2014 study of polyphenols in berries and tea shows benefits for blood pressure and heart disease:

http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Polyphenols-may-slash-heart-disease-risk

In 2/2014, I found this comprehensive article on antioxidants and I decided to add it:

http://articles.mercola.com/antioxidants.aspx

New 2014 study for ALA and ROS (reactive oxygen species) and artery health:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25005184

© 2013 by Steve Carney/End Sickness Now

{ 6 comments }

Galen October 10, 2013 at 11:12 AM

I’m reading your new post and it’s quite helpful and I’m learning a lot.

margene October 16, 2013 at 9:20 PM

There’s certainly a great deal to learn about this subject. I really like all the points you made and links too!

cesar October 29, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Informative article, exactly what I wanted to find.

rosalie November 3, 2013 at 2:20 PM

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