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ANTIAGING PRODUCTS: NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS

 

Nutrition

With the depletion of soils and strong advocacy not to replenish soils using artificial substances, one thing is evident; the nutritional value in natural foods today is not as it what a few generations ago.

 

Recommended Daily Allowance

RDA or Recommended Daily Allowance is a measure which is perhaps becoming somewhat outdated in its current form. Firstly due to its origin, which was largely to define a measure of a vitamin or mineral representing the level below which the body would show health or wellness decline.

Secondly, it does not denote ‘how much is needed to reach optimal performance’; rather it’s a measure or dosage to reach average health. As an example, a diet with a high intake of fruit results in less incidence of cardiovascular disease, and thus impacts life expectancy. However, that protective effect of fruit and vegetables occur at an intake in the range of two or three times the RDA amount.
The “official” RDA value is determined using six major criteria:

  1. amount people consume normally of the nutrient
  2. amount needed to avoid a particular disease
  3. the adequacy of the physiological function in relation to the nutrient intake
  4. amount of nutrient absorbed
  5. studies determining the nutrient deficiency characteristics; and
  6. results from animal experiments

Today, some scientists have suggested an additional, perhaps more reliable criterion; that which results in the longest lifespan. Thus, there is a fundamental difference between using supplements to prevent disease and using them to retard aging.

 

CODEX or RDA

A number of minority European countries have proposed that Codex Guidelines, established by scientific risk assessment be used to guide the level of supplements; rather than the outdated Recommended Daily Allowance. Many countries such as South America and SE Asia still require that nutritional supplements do not exceed 100% of the RDA determined by the FAQ


Which Supplements?

If we can agree that there is a benefit to nutritional supplementation, deciding which supplements to take can be even more difficult. This is exasperated by the controversy between the business side of selling supplements and scientifically backed health benefits.

Much research has proved that regular supplementation can prevent and increase resistance to a variety of diseases associated with old age and early mortality. However, many modern medical practitioners tend to over-recommend the use of certain drugs and supplements which have not stood the test of time.

Our challenge, is therefore to decide what risk we are willing to take; not take sufficient quantity and expose ourselves further to the perils of aging breakdown, or take sufficient to ward of the aging evil, yet risk any as yet unknown or unproven side effects.

There are several classes of supplements:

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Antioxidants

Antioxidants are by far the most potent anti-aging agents as free radical scavengers. It is proven that taking antioxidants result in longer life and lower incidence of disease by decreasing disease susceptibility and are a must in any anti-aging diet. Whether supplementation with antioxidants alone retards aging, is yet unproven. The three antioxidants which are best known for their activity are:

Vitamins E - the most significant fat-soluble, chain-breaking antioxidant in human blood. Sufficient Vitamin E increases immune response and resistance to infection. It also exerts cancer-inhibiting properties and protects from toxic chemical agents (mercury, lead, ozone). Supplement with 300 IU.

Vitamin C - the primary water-soluble antioxidant obtained from food and has proven beneficial in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and immune enhancement. Vitamin C is also essential for optimal brain metabolism, carnitine synthesis and manufacturing connective tissue. As an effective scavenger of free radicals, it also and protects against LDL cholesterol. In some cases it may act as a pro-oxidant, a function counteracted by Vitamin E, hence it is essential that these vitamins be supplemented together. The most effective form is Ester-C, with 500 mg taken between meals.

Alpha Lipoic Acid [ALA] - is both water and fat soluble and plays a role in glucose metabolism. It lowers oxidative stress thus reversing age-related decline in mitochondrial functions. Current recommendation is to take 120 mg daily.

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Phytochemicals

Phytochemicals are nonnutrient plant chemicals that contain protective, disease-preventing compounds whose most potent activity is prevention of cancer Supplementing the diet with large quantities of phytosterols also reduces cholesterol absorption and LDL-cholesterol concentrations

They can be divided into:

Flavonoids - comprise the yellow and red/blue pigments in fruits and vegetables. They have antioxidant properties connected to those of vitamin C, as well as anticancer activity.

Phyto-Estrogens - are plant substances of different kinds (isoflavones, lignans) that have an estrogenic effect in the body, which are present largely in soy products and flax seed. There is evidence that they possess inhibitory properties to prostate, breast and colon cancer, as well as osteoporosis.

Isothiocyanates - are present in cruciferous vegetables and inhibit cancer by detoxifying the carcinogen and eliminating it. This has been mainly recognized in gastrointestinal and respiratory tract tumors.

Diallylsulfides - present in garlic, onion, leeks and chives, have shown to reduce proliferation of cancer cells, particularly cancer of the stomach and colon.

Carotenes – found in green and yellow-red vegetables are hydrophobic substances whose antioxidant functions fight a particular free radical known as singlet oxygen. Beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and lycopene are the strongest antioxidants, and are also active in the prevention of certain types of cancer and macular degeneration of the eye.

Selenium – part of one of the body’s natural antioxidant enzymes, glutathione, as well as a metabolic defence to mercury, lead, calcium and arsenic. 200 mcg. daily selenium intake has a proven cancer inhibitory effect.

B-vitamins -in particular, B5. B6, B12 and Folic acid, are associated with lowering the levels of homocysteine, a risk factor for heart disease. Vitamin B5 is an essential element of energy-yielding oxidation of glucose products and also enhances the ability to withstand stress.

Coenzyme Q-10 -which acts like a vitamin, plays a critical role in the respiratory chain providing energy, as well as possessing antioxidant properties. CoQ10 is beneficial in the treatment and prevention of neurodegenerative disorders.

Carnitine - is a transport chemical required for the passage of fatty acids across cell membranes. Meat and diary products are major sources of carnitine which, when supplemented, improves stress tolerance, causes improvement in cognitive functions and has anti-fatigue effects.

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Hormones

There are two main types of hormone treatment used today:

  1. HRT – oestrogren/progesterone hormone replacement therapy often used to assist women through menopause
  2. HGH – human growth hormone supplements

 

Fatty Acids

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