More Antioxidants for Optimal Aging

Here are some other antioxidants that should be a part of your strategy to minimize the effects of aging. Alpha-Lipoic Acid is an antioxidant that is both fat-soluble and water-soluble, and crosses the blood-brain barrier to work in all tissues. It can minimize the neurological damage from a stroke, and is thought to retard the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). It also lowers blood sugar levels and improves insulin sensitivity in type-2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, preventing damage from glycation. The R-lipoic acid form is what the human body produces, and better supplements use R-dihydro-lipoic acid, which is immediately active upon ingestion, another preferred form is Sodium R-Lipoic Acid.

Coenzyme Q10 (or Ubiquinone) is another must-have antioxidant that works in our mitochondria – the energy factories which power all cells of the body - and greatly enhances energy production. In animal studies, high levels of CoQ10 have been found to retard aging markers and to reduce fatigue significantly. The body’s production of CoQ10 is hampered by all statin-based drugs (Lipitor, etc.) because it is synthesized from cholesterol. If you use any of the statin drugs you absolutely should be taking supplemental CoQ10. The ‘rare but serious’ side effect spoken of in the statin drug commercials is caused by mitochondrial death due to reduced levels of CoQ10. It is not reversible, and leads to a nasty death. The Ubiquinol. form is better absorbed and assimilated and is about 8 times more effective in facilitating energy production than the older Ubiquinone at the same dose. Its function as an antioxidant is far more effective as well. I use the 100 mg Super Ubiquinol from Life Extension.

Pomegranate juice is another effective antioxidant product you can add to your diet. A recent study cited in July/07 Life Extension magazine showed a 35% reduction in carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT) (basically plaque) after consuming 1.7 ounces of the straight juice every day for 1 year. The same group saw a 21% reduction in systolic BP in that period (because their arteries became more flexible). Why wouldn’t you drink this for life? Costco sells unsweetened ”Naturally Pomegranate” brand juice, with 1 Oz = antioxidant equivalent to 15 pomegranates.

Glycation Blockers – Reducing Blood Sugar and Insulin to Healthy Levels

When blood sugar bumps into proteins or lipids (such as a cell wall component) it sometimes reacts with them and forms advanced glycation end-products (AGEs). This now useless combination stays where it was formed and the damaged structure no longer performs its original function. This is the primary cause of diabetic damage. One of our most important anti-aging strategies is to reduce glycation damage by keeping blood sugar low. Dr. Alan Ingles states that fasting blood sugar above 75mg/dl signifies the beginning of pre-diabetes. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes accelerates with every point above that, and skyrockets above 90. By the time you reach the medical alarm level of 125, the damage has been going on undetected for years. This damage is cumulative with aging and essentially irreversible, so prevention is the only valid strategy for now.

At the top of your strategy list for controlling blood sugar should be the practice of eating modestly, never eating to fullness. For instance; there is no human on earth that biologically ‘needs’ to eat a Subway Foot-long of any kind. A Six-incher is far more the right size for a single meal. Second, eat only three modest meals a day – drinking only water between meals to get a six hour digestive fast between meals – and eating only low glycemic index foods. Drastically reduce sugar and starch intake; delete soft drinks, sugared or diet, from your life. Make desserts a rare treat, and eat only modest amounts of whole-grain breads and pastas. Virtually all breakfast cereals should be replace by real food; try lightly sautéed diced veggies (a variety) scrambled with two free-range eggs, or a variety of fresh berries with goat-milk yogurt and some crushed almonds Below are some other products to consider in this fight.

  • Beta-glucans are soluble fibers found in cell walls of oats, barley, yeast, bacteria, algae and mushrooms, which have the remarkable ability to improve blood glucose metabolism. If you eat the right whole grain products, you get a good supply of beta-glucans. Most breakfast cereals will be devoid of them, and full of white flower and sugar. There are numerous supplement products on the market that will allow you to add beta-glucans to your food in the form of a powder.
  • Alpha-lipoic acid was cited in the first paragraph of this article as a powerful antioxidant, but it also significantly lowers blood glucose and improves insulin sensitivity.
  • L-Carnosine is a naturally occurring antioxidant that performs an anti-glycation function in the body, preventing the formation of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs). It also improves metabolic function.

An example of a multi-nutrient product for glucose management is Life Extension’s CinSulin™; another is their Mega Green Tea with CoffeeGenic™ Green Coffee Extract . I’m a firm believer that products designed with synergistic combinations are much better than trying to find one magic bullet that fixes a problem. That’s the way foods work - as vast combinations of nutrient elements that our bodies know how to use to best advantage. Look for supplements that provide a broad spectrum of ingredients known to minimize these aging mechanisms.

In the next installments on Supplements we will take up supplements that reduce Inflammation and the damage it creates, which generally accelerates with aging, and consider supplements which impact the genetically-programmed cellular ‘end-of-life’ mechanism – Senescence.

Good Living - Frank

Author's Bio: 

Frank Wilhelmi of chronicles strategies for staying healthy and fit into advanced age. He is an electronic engineer by trade, but his passion is teaching others to lead healthy, vibrant, pain-free, activity-filled lives.