The Antioxidant Miracle
Lester Packer, PhD, director of molecular and cell biology at the University of California at Berkeley’s Packer laboratory, one of the world’s leading antioxidant research centers, recently published some amazing results based on 50 years devoted to the study of antioxidants.
Literally thousands of studies have confirmed that antioxidants can help prevent numerous diseases and will not only enhance life, but in all probability, extend life. After reading the ANTIOXIDANT MIRACLE 17 years ago, I incorporated his recommendation into my daily health routine.
Why all the fuss about antioxidants? The key to good health is to maintain the right balance between antioxidants and free radicals. Wherever there is disease and destruction, there are free radicals. Conversely, wherever there is life, there are also free radicals. We could not exist without them. Free radicals perform many critical functions in our bodies from controlling the flow of blood through our arteries to fighting infections, to keeping our brain sharp and in focus. But free radicals also have a dark side. They can turn on us, make us sick, and age us before our time.
The Cliff Notes read like this: All of our cells need oxygen to produce energy. Deprived of oxygen for just a few minutes, and we are kaput; that is, out of energy “permanently”. Burning oxygen, however, releases “smoke” in the form of an electron, a tiny guided missile, we call a free radical, and a by-product of the oxidative process. They are causal factors in nearly every known disease, from heart disease and arthritis, cancer and cataracts, to periodontal disease and the very aging process itself. There are hundreds of antioxidants designed to neutralize their devastating effects. When an antioxidant encounters a free radical it engulfs it and neutralizes it. In the process these ordinary antioxidants are themselves neutralized. Antioxidants are our missile defense system.
Packer’s research uncovered five unique antioxidants. The Five are special because they greatly enhance the power of each other. They are particularly effective in slowing down the aging process and boosting the body’s ability to fight disease. Working together in a network, the Five are next to invincible. What makes them so special is that they can recycle, or regenerate one another, vastly extending their antioxidant power. They are not destroyed in the battle against free radicals like their lesser counterparts.
The Five form what Packer calls the antioxidant network. Members are: Vitamin C and E, Glutathione, Alpha lipoic acid (ALA), and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). Our bodies don’t make any C or E so we have to eat them. The three others are produced by our body, but significantly decline as we age. So eventually we need to eat these too. Vitamin E and CoQ10 protect our cell wall from free radical attack. Vitamin C and Glutathione go into the watery, inside part of our cells. ALA can go anywhere. Working together they are a juggernaut against the lethal forces of oxidation. Packer’s work demonstrated ALA may offer significant protection against stroke and heart disease. ALA is the only antioxidant that can boost our glutathione levels within our cells by as much as 30%. His research shows ALA to be the most versatile and powerful antioxidant in the entire antioxidant defense network. ALA increases our levels of vitamin C, and E, glutathione, and CoQ10. In Europe, ALA is used in the treatment of complications from diabetes.
Glutathione is the most abundant antioxidant in the network and is found in virtually every cell. As we age, glutathione levels drop precipitously. Low levels of glutathione have been linked to premature death and disease. Glutathione supplements are expensive and very poorly absorbed. ALA increases glutathione levels by 30%. CoQ10 works synergistically with vitamin E and is an effective treatment for heart failure, angina, and high blood pressure. Vitamin C is a potent free radical quencher, and is essential for a strong immune system. Studies have shown that vitamin E prevents heart disease, reduces the risk of prostate cancer, and slows down the progression of Alzheimer’s.
The book of Genesis says that we shall have dominion over the plants of the field. In other words, plants are our servants. They defend us against oxidizing; rusting away and finally “seizing up”. Plants, fruits, and vegetables are our major source of antioxidants. For the carnivores reading this, the cow we eat, eats plants itself. Here’s Packers basic antioxidant cocktail: Natural vitamin E 400 mg, CoQ10 30 mg, ALA 100mg, and Esther C 500 mg. In combination the four produce Glutathione. To support and enhance the Network, Packer recommends 100mg of Tocotrienol, 400mcg of Folic acid, 300mcg of Biotin, 2 mg of Vitamin B6, 200mcg of Selenium, and 30 mg of Ginkgo biloba. Cigarette smokers should add 20 mg of Pycnogenol. Half of the list should be taken with the morning and half with the evening meal. He also emphasizes a quality natural multivitamin with trace minerals as an essential part of his antioxidant cocktail.
Way too much here to report in just a few words. Buy the book, you won’t be sorry.
Dr Bill Ardito – Sunshine Dentistry AZ