The Fountain of Youth

What are Antioxidants?
There are hundreds of antioxidants found in most fruits and vegetables and also produced in the body. They protect your cells from the damage caused by free radicals and not only keep us healthy, but they also keep us young, energetic, mentally alert, prevent disease and prolong our life. Dr. Packer, the leading scientist in the study of antioxidants, describes them best: “Their role in the human body is nothing less than miraculous” (Packer, 1999, p. 8).

What Are Free Radicals?
Free radicals are constantly being produced by your body. Everyday activities and environmental factors like UV light, chemicals, cigarette smoke and pollution all produce free radicals. Traveling around our body, free radicals oxidize our cells (like what happens when you leave food out), weakening our defenses and destroying our DNA. When kept under control, they can do important things like controlling blood flow--but when antioxidants can’t keep levels of free radicals under control, it causes rapid aging. That includes all aspects of aging, such as wrinkles, mental fog, poor eyesight, loss of memory, delayed reactions and many degenerative diseases.
"Scientists now believe that free radicals are causal factors in nearly every known disease, from heart disease to arthritis to cancer to cataracts." (Packer, 1999, p.8)
The Antioxidant Network
The following are the five antioxidants that make up the Antioxidant Network. These special antioxidants work together in the body to enhance, strengthen and even recycle one another. When an antioxidant neutralizes a free radical, it becomes useless. The other antioxidants in the network, when kept in balance, recycle each other back to functioning antioxidants. This complex system works nonstop with every breath to neutralize the harmful free radicals in your body. Dr. Packer (1999) describes the antioxidant network as “a shield that protects the body against the forces that age us before our time and rob years from our lives” (p. 9).

Co-enzyme Q10- Found in every cell in our body and it is essential for the production of energy. CoQ10 is very important for heart health. Studies have found people with heart disease have very low levels of this antioxidant and because it enables energy production, it is vital to a heart that works harder to pump. Japan has been successfully using CoQ10 to treat heart patients and also gum disease since 1965 (Packer, 1999, p. 95). In addition to its benefits for heart disease, CoQ10 has also shown the ability to rejuvenate brain tissue, help prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and has increased the life span of breast cancer patients. Being a fat-soluble antioxidant, CoQ10 recycles vitamin E in the network.

Lipoic Acid- Referred to as “the antioxidant’s antioxidant” (Packer, 1999, p. 32), it is the strongest working and most amazing of all the network antioxidants. What makes lipoic acid different from the others is that it can recycle all the other antioxidants in the network and can even regenerate itself. It is incredibly powerful in protecting your body from cellular damage, especially following stroke and heart attack. It can also rejuvenate the liver, helping to treat all liver diseases like Hepatitis C and can reverse mushroom poisoning, which is often fatal. Lipoic acid is also effective in preventing and treating diabetes, used successfully in Europe for the last 20 years. 
Glutathione- One of the most important antioxidants, it is vitally important for maintaining a strong immune system, proper protein production and detoxifying the liver from everything you put in your body. Glutathione is necessary for healthy lungs, protecting lung tissue from damage and inflammation. It can also help prevent cancer by regulating your genes. As we age, glutathione levels decline and since low glutathione levels are associated with poor health, illness and death, it is very important to keep your levels high. It is not absorbed well from supplements, but fortunately, lipoic acid supplements increase your glutathione levels.

Vitamin E- The ultimate antioxidant for anti-aging, it protects you from wrinkles, sun spots, heart attack, stroke, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin E was originally used as a preservative because it would prevent food from oxidizing (turning rancid). It also does the same in your body, especially protecting lipids (fats) from oxidizing—the main cause of heart disease. Being fat soluble, it can travel to all the fatty cells and clean up where the other antioxidants cannot. Vitamin E improves quality and elasticity inside and out, working to protect your veins, arteries and skin. It can be regenerated by vitamin C and lipoic acid.

Vitamin C- Unlike most animals, humans are not able to produce vitamin C. Therefore, it is very important to ensure that we get it from our diet and supplements. Popular for preventing and shortening colds and flu and for its ability to produce collagen, vitamin C has many more potent abilities. In the network, vitamin C is the most effective at regenerating vitamin E, which plays a large role in helping with heart disease. It has also proven effective in preventing cancer by strengthening the immune system, fortifying connective tissues, preventing damage to DNA and protecting genes from going haywire. Cancers shown to respond best to vitamin C are cancers of the esophagus, stomach, mouth and pancreas (Packer, 1999, p. 84). Vitamin C is crucial for men’s fertility, as it protects the DNA in sperm, preventing transmission of defective genes to the child. New research shows that vitamin C can also prevent cataracts.

Network Boosters-  The following support, or boost the functions of your antioxidant network.
Flavonoids- Antioxidants found in the pigments of plants. Also known as plant phenols, the richest sources are tea, berries and wine. Flavonoids scavenge free radicals, regenerate vitamin C, lower high blood pressure and prevent blood clots. They can also improve concentration, memory and sexual function in men. Two of the best sources are ginko biloba and Pycnogenol.
Carotenoids- Found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables, they can protect you from macular degeneration, cataracts, many types of cancer and heart disease. Well known carotenoids include alpha and beta carotene, producing vitamin A in your body, which heals and protects your skin; lycopene which has proven effective in preventing prostate cancer; and lutein, which helps your vision. 
Selenium- A trace mineral found in broccoli, egg yolks, garlic, red grapes, onions, wheat germ and in some areas, drinking water. Selenium assists several enzymes in detoxification and is important for producing glutathione and supporting vitamin E. It may also help prevent heart disease, blood clots and cancer.

Antioxidant Cocktail for Longevity
The Packer Plan- Dr. Packer insists on the importance of 7 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Eating a wide variety of colors is the best way to ensure a wide variety of nutrients. For your network antioxidants, follow this basic regime, plus any of the boosters below:
Supplements in the A.M.
·      Vitamin E:
      100mg tocotrienols
      200 mg mixed tocopherols
·      30 mg CoQ10
·      50 mg lipoic acid
·      250 mg ester vitamin C
·      400 mcg folic acid
·      300 mcg biotin
·      2 mg vitamin B6
Supplements in the P.M.
·      Vitamin E:
            200 mg natural alpha tocopherol
·      50 mg lipoic acid
·      250 mg ester vitamin C
·      30 mg ginko biloba
·      200 mcg selenium

Recommended Boosters for Special Needs-If you fit into one of these categories, add the listed supplements to the basic AM or PM regime.

With each breath of smoke, smokers and second hand smokers are exposed to an incredibly high amount of toxins. This can overload the system with free radicals and quickly deplete the body of antioxidants.  Add the following to the above plan:
§  100 mg lipoic acid
§  100 mg tocotrienols
§  50 mg CoQ10
§  20 mg Pycnogenol
*Caution: Smokers should not take supplemental carotenoids, as they could react with cigarette smoke.

Diabetics lack an enzyme that produces gamma linolenic acid (GLA). USDA studies show the mineral chromium improves glucose tolerance by helping the body use sugar and metabolize fat (Packer, 1999, p. 190).
§  100 mg lipoic acid
§  1,000 mg GLA
§  200 mcg chromium
Menopausal Women 
Calcium is an important supplement for women of advanced age and tocotrienols can protect against breast cancer.
§  1,200 mg calcium
§  100 mg tocotrienols

High Risk of Cancer 
Having a close relative die before age 60 puts you at an increased risk of developing cancer. In addition to regular check-ups, taking additional supplements can provide your body with extra help in fighting carcinogens.
§  100 mg lipoic acid
§  100 mg tocotrienols
§  50 mg Co Q10
§  20 mg Pycnogenol

High Risk of Cardiovascular Disease 
High blood pressure, cholesterol or having a parent that died early of heart disease or stroke puts you at high risk. Get regular check-ups and tell your doctor you’re taking antioxidants as they are naturally anticoagulants (blood thinners).
§  50 mg Co Q10
§  100 mg tocotrienols (p.m.)
§  100 mg lipoic acid
§  20 mg Pycnogenol


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