Almost everyone has heard of antioxidants and their so-called nemesis, free radicals. What many don’t know is that free radicals can be beneficial. The body produces free radicals. They are unstable molecules and when aggravated they can damage cell structure leading to illness, disease and premature aging. The pollutants in our environment trigger free radicals and cause our body to oxidize This is similar to what happens when an apple, potato or avocado (minus the seed) are cut open. They begin to turn brown from oxidation.
Antioxidants are a combination of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. They are produced in our body and occur naturally in foods, but decline as we age. They stop free radicals before they attack and make us sick. Antioxidants help prevent and treat the most common chronic diseases There are hundreds of antioxidants, but only five are considered “network antioxidants.” These five recycle and regenerate each other to help keep us strong and live long healthy lives. There are also “Network Boosters” to enhance the five network antioxidants, to further improve and extend our life.
The five network antioxidants are:
1. Vitamin C is considered the hub in the antioxidant network because of its ability to connect water-soluble antioxidants with fat-soluble ones.
• Is critical for our immune system.
• Helps prevent cancer.
• Helps men wanting to conceive by protecting sperm.
• Regenerates Vitamin E (together they prevent heart disease).
• Is excellent for the skin and helps protect against cataracts.
A deficiency can lead to scurvy. Recommended dosage is 500 milligrams daily of Ester C (250 mg morning and night). Food sources include: red peppers, broccoli, cranberries, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, and citrus fruits.
2. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that helps prevent fats and oils from becoming rancid in our body. It can reverse a weakened immune system and improve the quality and quantity of our life.
• Delays Alzheimer’s better than standard drug therapy.
• Keeps our skin youthful, can save our vision, help heal arthritis and inflammation.
• Helps reduce our risk of heart attack and stroke by keeping our blood fluid.
• Reduces the risk of prostrate and lung cancer and inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells.
The recommended dosage is 500 milligrams daily (100 mg tocotrienols/200 mg tocopherols in the morning and 200 mg tocopherols in the evening). Food sources include: raw vegetable oils, nuts, nut butters, rice bran oil, barley, and green leafy vegetables. **Note: Cigarette/second-hand smokers, menopausal women and those at high risk for cancer or heart disease add an additional 100 mg tocotrienols daily (P.M. for heart disease). You are considered “High Risk” if a parent, sibling or grandparent died before the age of 60 of cancer. You are also considered high risk if you mother died before the age of 50, or your father before the age of 60 due to heart disease.
3. Coenzyme Q10 regenerates Vitamin E.
• Is used to treat and prevent heart disease.
• Rejuvenates brain cells, helping to prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
• Is used to treat gum disease.
• Is being researched for treatment of advanced breast cancer.
The recommended dosage is 30 milligrams each morning. Food sources include seafood and organ meats. **Note: Cigarette/second-hand smokers and those at high risk for cancer or heart disease add 50 mg daily.
4. Glutathione is produced in the body – it is considered nature’s master antioxidant. Low levels of glutathione speed up the aging process.
• Is used for the breakdown and elimination of toxins.
• Is essential for liver function and helps transport amino acids.
• Helps rejuvenate a weakened immune system
• Can turn off the genes leading to chronic inflammation and disease.
In order to increase glutathione levels, taking 100 milligrams of lipoic acid daily is recommended. Food sources include: fruits, vegetables, and freshly cooked meat (although glutathione is broken during digestion).
5. Lipoic Acid is considered a universal antioxidant. It can cross any membrane because of its water and fat-soluble properties. It traps free radicals and recycles the other four network antioxidants.
• Is essential for energy and offers powerful protection against stroke, heart disease and cataracts.
• Strengthens memory and prevents brain gaining.
• Is used to treat liver disease and helps the body eliminate toxins.
• Can turn off the genes leading to cancer and accelerated aging.
• Has been used in Europe to prevent and relieve complications of Diabetes.
The recommended dosage is 100 milligrams daily (50mg morning and night). Food sources include: potatoes, spinach, and red meat (each in small amounts). **Note: Cigarette/second-hand smokers, diabetics and those at high risk for cancer or heart disease add an additional 100 mg lipoic acid daily.
Network Boosters: Flavonoids, Carotenoids, and Selenium.
Flavonoids include: Ginkgo Biloba and Pycnogenol, which have been used by medicine men long before modern scientists discovered them. They are powerful at scavenging free radicals and boosting the effectiveness of Vitamin C.
• Improve memory and concentration, and are used to treat attention deficit disorder.
• Protect the heart, reduce inflammation, improve immune function and are excellent in the treatment of impotence.
• Help regulate nitric oxide – a beneficial free radical that becomes destructive under the wrong conditions. Nitric oxide regulates blood flow.
The recommended dosage for ginkgo biloba is 30 milligrams daily and pycnogenol is 20 milligrams daily. They are not produced in the body, but are easily attained and abundant in fruits, vegetable and plant-based beverages. Food sources include: tea leaves, oranges, citrus fruits, apples, onions, red grapes, berries, and pine bark. Research at Finland’s Public Health Institute in Helsinki found people were 20% less likely to develop cancer by eating flavonoid-rich foods. Apples offer the most protection, followed by onions. **Note: Cigarette/second-hand smokers and those at high risk for cancer or heart disease add an additional 20 mg of pycnogenol daily.
Carotenoids include Alpha Carotene; Beta Carotene; Cryptoxantin; Lutein; Lycopene; and, Zeaxanthin. They offer powerful protection against many types of cancer. Combined, they help reduce the risk of heart disease.
• Lycopene lowers risk of prostate cancer.
• Lutein and zeaxanthin reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
• Beta-carotene boosts immune function.
There is an abundance of Carotenoid by eating the following food sources daily: three orange and yellow fruits and vegetables; and, two dark green leafy vegetables. A mixed carotenoid supplement is recommended for those diets lacking in fresh fruits and vegetables. **Note: it is recommended smokers not take carotenoids, but eat food rich in them instead.
Selenium is a trace mineral that works with Vitamin E, making them more powerful and effective.
• Offers protection against lung, prostrate and colon cancers.
• A small amount is needed to protect us from heart disease and AIDS.
• Lowers our risk for stroke.
Recommended dosage is 250 micrograms daily. The body does not produce selenium. Food sources include: garlic, onions, wheat germ, red grapes, broccoli, and egg yolks.