T HE AWFUL TRUTH IS THAT EVERYONE OVER THE AGE OF 25 IS LIVING ON BORROWED TIME. NATURE PLANNED IT THAT WAY.
Within that framework, man was given one ‘immortal gene,” One that shields us from the destructive forces of free radicals and allows us to by—pass Nature’s limitations. The critical question is how can we maximize the output of that “immortal” gene?
In a fascinating display of scientific ingenuity, anti-aging researchers have now identified the crucial nutrient needed to protect and duplicate the immortal gene’s capacity to keep health and looks intact well beyond a quarter of a century. But that’s not all they’ve done.
In a variation on Nature’s original plan, medical researchers have now combined an amazing enzyme call it the “youth molecule”—with the most powerful age-defying antioxidants on earth. When taken together, these nutrients can provide a new plan for living longer and better.
Your immortal gene produces a substance called “superoxide dismutase,” or SOD, which is found in the membrane surrounding every cell in your body. The sole function of SOD is to keep the integrity of your cells safe from destruction by toxic molecules called free radicals.
Unstable molecules are toxic because of a missing electron. They ram up against cells searching for an electron mate in an effort to help them stabilize themselves. Unfortunately, by stealing an electron from certain key components in the cell (such as fat. protein, or DNA molecules). free radicals maim the cells creating a real “cascade” of free radicals that damage other cells. Actually considered a by-product of oxygen used for basic energy production and all normal metabolic processes. free radicals are formed during breathing. eating. drinking, and exercise.
In addition to naturally produced free radicals, “unnatural” free radical generators also assault you. including ultraviolet radiation. oione, pesticides, pollution, and chemicals present in processed food. Most scientists now believe that most of the degenerative conditions associated with aging are caused by an overabundance of free radicals. Simply put, aging is a failure of antioxidants to meet, challenge, and neutralize free radicals (Hendler 1990).
What Happens When SOD Levels Decline?
Of all the known antioxidants. SOD is considered the “perfect” protector. Created by the immortal gene. SOD is an enzyme that destroys free radicals before they can break through the membrane surrounding the cell, maintaining a near-perfect free radical/antioxidant balance. However after age 25, SOD production decreases in accordance with the outdated “programming” for a rather brief life span.
Yet, researchers at the prestigious Tutts University Nutrition Research Ccnter on Aging say that if SOD can he increased so can your life span. In addition many research groups around the world are investigating SOD as the possible “missing link” in research of damaged cell growth. (Michelson 1987).
Jeffrey Blumberg, an anti-aging researcher from Tufts University, says: “There is a substantial amount of experimental evidence indicating a role for oxygen free radicals in the aging process and the development of several chronic [health problems] common among the elderly Comparisons between mammalian species reveal a strong correlation between their life span...... and tissue concentration of specific antioxidants including carotenoids, uric acid, and superoxide dismutase (SOD).”
As SOD levels decline, so does the state of your health. Scientists are linking SOD’s decline to many aspects and conditions associated with aging, including visible wrinkling of skin (Emerit 1992); diabetes and hypertension (Ceriello 1991) cellular mtmtation (Hiraishi 1992); and heart attacks and strokes (Pisarenko 1994). Clearly, to increase SOD levels in the body is to mount a counter-offensive against the aging process.
In the realm of antioxidants, SOD is not a vitamin or a mineral, but an enzyme a catalyst for creating powerful biochemical reactions in the body that constitutes our first line of defense against free radical damage. Considered by scientists to be a “chain-breaking enzyme,” SOD is the most crucial nutrient on the enzymatic antioxidant team that includes glutathione and catalase. It is important to note that all antioxidant enzymes require a “co-factor” to function. The mineral co-factors include zinc, selenium, copper, manganese. and iron. A deficiency in amiy one of these minerals could mean a weakening of the antioxidant power of the enzymes (Emerit 1992).
New Plan for Defeating Free Radicals
Taking supplemental SOD, alone, is a pretty good plan, but taking SOD with the most powerful group of antioxidants on earth is a far better plan, according to anti-aging researchers. In a highly synergistic fashion, certain vitamins, minerals, and enzymes potentiate the effects of SOD and each other to give you optimal protection against free radicals.
To begin with, you should include the mineral “co-factors,” which are needed to make SOD perform its antioxidant function. Zinc, copper. and selenium are the three minerals most deficient in the normal American diet, and deficiencies of these trace elements alter immunity and susceptibility to infection. At the 1992 American Institute of Nutrition’s Symposium. Dr. Adria Sherman presented a paper that discussed the influences of these important co-factors. Dr. Sherman emphasized the intimate link between immunity from infections and widespread difficulty getting enough zinc, copper, and iron from nutritional sources.
In addition to zinc’s role in protecting the immune system, there is ample scientific evidence that indicates moderate to severe zinc deficiency can lead to sexual dysfunction, mental lethargy, skin changes, and glucose intolerance (Hendler 1990) Often overlooked in popular medical literature, copper is essential for your survival. Vitally important in maintaining the structural integrity of cell membranes. copper is being studied extensively in Ireland. as evidence accumulates regarding a strong link between copper deficiency and osteoporosis (Strain 1988). As the American public wisely avoids organ meats (high in cholesterol), chocolate high in calories), and oysters (for fear of tainting), copper deficiency becomes a serious problem (Olivares 1996). Implicated in an increased risk of heart disease through instability of heart rhythm, studies demonstrate that postmenopausal women as well is older men benefit greatly from copper supplementation (Milne 1996).
In the past, selenium (a trace mineral) was richly present in Farmland soil throughout the world. Unfortunately, many factors. including farming practices, have depleted selenium to such an extent that there is a worldwide deficiency of selenium in the diet (Neve 1991). The seriousness of this global problem is being intensively researched, and new links between low levels of selenium and a variety of diseases have been established, including cancer (Badmaev l996; Salonen 1984) and rheumatoid arthritis (Kosc 1996).
Major Detoxifying Nutrient
Joining SOD (as second in command in the war against free radicals) is glutathione. Considered a powerful antioxidant enzyme, g1utathione deactivates lipofuscin. which is the result of free radical damage that is so destructive to your brain, liver, kidneys. heart, eyes. and cars. Ample supplies of glutathione are required to reduce the oxidizing of fat (lipid peroxidation), which occurs when free radicals impact polyunsaturated fatty acids at the cellular level.
Vital to the body’s ability to clear drugs and other toxins from the liver, glutathione has gained a tremendous reputation within the scientific community as a major detoxmfier (Lopcz-Torres 1993). Remarkably versatile, glutathione also has been found to significantly increase the lifetimes of vitamins E and C, which can vastly enhance their antioxidant effects (Rousseau 1988).
Gifted With Nutritional Tools
Armed with this new insight into Mother Nature’s original plan, we can make a new plan by supplementing diminishing stores of SOD, along with other major antioxidants. Gifted with nutritional “tools” we can determine the quality and length of our lives well beyond the limitations of our ancestors.
Journal of Longevity
Copyright @ 1999
Vol. 5, No. 3. (Pgs. 36-37)
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